Dustin Bentall performs with Leeroy Stagger and Ridley Bent tonight at the Queen's at 7 p.m.

Musical navigator

Dustin Bentall navigates the music industry with his own compass.

When Dustin Bentall was a young boy, his father took him on a sailing trip that would ultimately change his life.

“He thought it would be cool if him and my brother and I took the little sailboat that we had and sailed to Nanaimo,” Bentall recalled. “So we got in this boat and we gave ourselves plenty of time.”

Bentall soon found himself on the water enjoying the spectacular view when his father pulled out a guitar and asked an important question.

“We were sitting in the middle of the water and he said ‘do you want to learn a song on the guitar?’” Bentall said. “And I said ‘yes.’”

Although he didn’t know it then, his answer would mark the beginning of a musical journey that continues today.

“Pretty much the first songs that he taught me were on that trip,” Bentall said.

Years later Bentall would follow his father, Barney Bentall, and embark on his own music career.

“He really let that decision be up to me and let me find it my own way,” Bentall said.

Tonight (Nov. 6), Bentall will be performing at the Queen’s with Ridley Bent and Leeroy Stagger. The show is the first stop on a month long tour that will take Bentall across Western Canada.

“It’s something we’ve sort of wanted to do and talked about doing for years,” he said. “All the stars aligned for it to work out this year so we could put some shows together. I think the collaboration is great. It’s a natural fit. We’re all friends. That’s probably what I am most excited about.”

Bentall began his career nearly a decade ago and has released records as a solo artist and with his band Dustin Bentall and The Smøkes. The Vancouver-based rocker is currently working on a new album with Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother.

“We’ve known each other for a long time now and we have done some writing in the past and he actually recorded my very first demos, before I made my first record,” Bentall said. “We will probably release a couple of songs and then finish the record and put it out in the summer.”

Since becoming a full-time musician, Bentall said his father has always been supportive and never pressured him into the industry.

“He’s not that type of person,” Bentall said. “He just taught me guitar … and was there any time I had questions or wanted to learn more. He always encouraged that and supported me when I went into music.”

While Bentall has managed to find success his own way, he has faced his share of challenges over the years.

“One thing I’ve found challenging is I’ve had some pretty great offers from management, where I felt like I was going to be pushed in a certain direction and I just don’t really work that way,” Bentall said. “I have to have control of my art and my music and I have had to turn down some offers because of that.”

Even though Bentall knew he wanted to go at his own pace, it wasn’t an easy decision for him turn down opportunities from various industry professionals.

“In one particular case I would have been joining with an organization that is quite successful. I knew what I wanted to do and it was going to be different.”

Fortunately, Bentall has always been able to turn to his father for advice.

“I’ve always been really close with him,” he said. “In situations like that we would talk a lot about it.”

The Vancouverite explained that since his first record, Streets With No Lights, which was released in 2007, he has always tried to expand and grow as an artist.

“The songwriting has evolved a lot and I have wanted it to. I have wanted to expand and try different things throughout. I absolutely always want to be learning and evolving and trying new things,” he said. “I don’t like to get too stuck in my ways. I like to continue to evolve.”

Bentall, Bent and Stagger perform tonight at the Queen’s. For more information, please visit www.dustinbentall.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod


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