Dustin Bentall & the Smokes Orion

Dustin Bentall & the SmokesOrion
Last time we heard from Vancouver, BC-based roots-rocker Dustin Bentall (yes, son of Barney) was with his 2009 album, Six Shooter. Back then, his band were called the Outfit, but new combo the Smokes are an equally talented posse that include Kendel Carson and Del Cowsill (another "son of"). A fine songsmith herself, Carson co-wrote a couple of cuts and contributes fiddle and backing vocals. Orion is a varied but entertaining six-song mini-album. Ryan Dahle (Age of Electric, Limblifter) produced and co-wrote one song, with Bentall and Pat Steward (Odds). That track, "You Are An Island," is a sweetly melodic, rock-based tune that's a highlight. Other high points are "Emmy-Lou," a humorous love song for a stripper, and "The Ballad of Billy Cowsill," an ode to the late, great singer (Cowsills, Blue Shadows) that's crammed with Blue Shadows references sure to please fans of that ace band. Word that Bentall will follow this with a new full-length in early 2013 is welcome. (Aporia)