Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express ride to the Arden Theatre – St. Albert TODAY

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Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express are getting back in the saddle for their annual fall-winter concert circuit. They’re a regional fan favourite, playing original material with a dynamic energy that leaves crowds in great spirits. 
Their popularity is more than just great music. Bentall & The Cariboo Express make it a tradition every year to tour Alberta in support of charities. This year, their performance at the Arden Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 5 will raise funds for St. Albert Food Bank. To date, the musicians have raised $4 million for charity. 
In their one-of-kind concerts, 12 professional grassroots musicians will kick up a storm with some of Canada’s most heartfelt roots, folk, country, bluegrass, rock and straight-ahead instrumental works. 
Bentall has added reason to celebrate throughout the 10-concert tour. His April 2022 album release, Cosmic Dreamer, was recently nominated in two categories for the 2023 National Folk Music Awards, receiving nods for Solo Artist of the Year and Instrumental Group of the Year. In addition, his 2021 album, RanchWriters, was nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year. 
Cosmic Dreamer is Bentall’s seventh solo release and 20th overall when adding up offerings from his Juno Award winning band The Legendary Hearts, The High Bar Gang, Bentall Taylor Ulrich, and The Cariboo Express. 
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented musicians used to collaborative writing from meeting in person. Since Bentall spent less time with other songwriters and musicians, Cosmic Dreamer has fewer co-written songs. 
“I wanted to experiment with other things and everybody, bless their hearts, was very good about it,” said Bentall. “I don’t know that I set out to make a concept album called Cosmic Dreamer. I always write and chip away until I find songs that fit.” 
Bentall wrote Cosmic Dreamer’s title track at Yellowpoint Lodge on Vancouver Island in February 2020 while taking a course at Ladysmith Marine Institute. His goal was to receive a certificate entitling him to drive a rigid-hulled inflatable Zodiac on Arctic expeditions.
Bentall's creative juices went into overdrive after his wife, Kath, sent him an image and text that struck a chord with him. 
“I would write at night. Cosmic Dream became a cool description of a particular mood. When I was at the lodge, that song just started spilling out. Sometimes your songs feel like they’re coming from somewhere else. Every once in a while, you get a gift of a song that comes from somewhere else.” 
The veteran singer-songwriter wrote the piece in two nights and afterwards sent it to Adrian Dolan, a west coast multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger. 
“We did two passes. He did piano. I did guitar. That was it. But I could tell it moved people.” 
The 11-track is all original material except for Bob Dylan’s You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go and Gordon Lightfoot’s Shadows, both songwriters he admires greatly. Unlike some recording artists whose songs deliver a similar vibe, Bentall’s music is as diverse as the human experience. 
Whiskey Jack is a pedal steel and fiddle song written from the perspective of a homeless person. Meanwhile, Oh Foolish Me is a bluegrass-tinted story song about two people in love searching for different things. Potter’s Wheel is a dedication to his mother-in-law, while Cody Road celebrates the simple joy of walking horses with friends on a sunny day.  
Bentall constantly experiments with different genres, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. 
“I just learn so much. It’s musical cross-training.” 
Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express perform Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m., the Arden Theatre, 5 St. Anne Street. Tickets start at $42. Call 780-459-1542 or online at 
About the Author: Anna Borowiecki
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