When Covid-19 hit in the spring of 2020, Barney Bentall was in a good position.
Unlike many other performing artists around the world, Bentall had the means to ride the pandemic out.
The “Something to Live For” singer–songwriter has had a long and illustrious career in the music industry — and a 1989 Juno Award to boot with his band The Legendary Hearts.
As well, Bentall said, his wife also stayed employed during the global outbreak.
From a location perspective, Bentall also fared well as he and his family divided their time between rural communities on Bowen Island and in the Caribou.
“I was able to have that freedom and take a break from touring,” he told the Tri-City News last week.
Over the two years, Bentall said he kept busy with odd jobs and virtual shows.
And when he could, he played venues with a maximum of 50 guests as per the provincial health orders for gatherings.
“I wanted to keep my craft alive,” he said.
Now, with the rules loosened, Bentall said he’s back on the road to play his hits, as well as music from his album Cosmic Dreamer that dropped in April.
The work is Bentall’s seventh solo release, and his 20th overall with The Legendary Hearts, The High Bar Gang, Bentall Taylor Ulrich and The Cariboo Express. The title track for Cosmic Dreamer was penned just before the Covid-19 outbreak.
On Friday (July 1), as part of the Canada Day celebrations at Castle Park in Port Coquitlam, Bentall will be joined on stage for an hour-long show with his band and son, Dustin, who is also a professional musician.
Dustin, 38, is Bentall’s third child of four.
“It’s great. He’s been playing with us for a while. All the people on stage have known him for so long. We’ll be playing each other’s material and singing together.”
Bentall said the post–pandemic audiences that he’s seen are hungry to be entertained.
Still, Canada Day 2022 will have a different meaning this year — separate from the pandemic.
“I really love this country and it’s a complicated time,” he said, without mentioning the trucks’ convoy that waves Canadian flags to vent its frustration at the Canadian government.
“There’s division with the flag. It’s been taken as a symbol. I’m not going to wade into that, but there has to be more understanding and acceptance of people with divergent opinions.”
Bentall added, “I feel like we’re some of the most fortunate people in the world: We have a free country that values human life. We’re lucky.”
“I have opinions, but I’m not political. I play music and I’m a songwriter. It’s wonderful to bring it together and heal. That’s a really positive force.”
Barney and Dustin Bentall headline the Canada Day celebrations at Castle Park in Port Coquitlam at 9:15 p.m. Their show is followed by fireworks. Visit portcoquitlam.ca/canadaday.