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Horizon: Dylan Michael Bentley

November 19, 2013

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Horizon is a recurring feature where a brand-new artist with promise and room to grow gets featured.

Multi-instrumentalist Dylan Michael Bentley has a wide Neil Young streak and really loud drums. I don’t usually mention the percussion in country-rock releases, but Bentley has put a great amount of emphasis on it throughout Change in the Wind. When the skins are at their finest, the thumping bass drum and snappy snare give a punchy, raw feel to his sound (the title track, “Candle”); when they go a little awry, it gives his sound a chaotic, impassioned sound (“Knock, Knock,” “Blame It on the Weather”). Since the whole album is clearly an artist making the most of the materials at hand, the latter is more on the endearing side than the annoying one. “Woman in a White Dress” is the sort of exciting instrumental digression that makes me overlook erratic rhythms; the solid acoustic-based songwriting within more than makes up for it. There are always drummers around waiting to jump in on hot projects, you know?

Those who are interested in clockwork perfection will find elements of this release not to their ken, but did I mention there’s a big dose of Neil Young involved? Bentley’s yearning, Young-esque voice will be enough to scare off haters and pique the interest of new fans. Bentley’s got a way with a harmonica, an enthusiasm for traditional songwriting, and tons of motivation. Change in the Wind isn’t perfect, but it’s a strong opening statement from a young artist. I look forward to see where he goes from here. And I hope he picks up a drummer.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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