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  • Ian Mattey

Ridley Bent - Character Studies


Maybe it was his upbringing - a military brat, born in Nova Scotia, but, like toilet seats, raised everywhere.


Ridley's music incorporates elements of rock and, perhaps more interestingly, hip-hop, with a Western sound. Honestly, when was the last time you heard a country/hip hop song? Funny thing is - it works, it really, really works! It works so well they gave it a name - Hick-Hop!


Ridley picked up a guitar young, while a teenager in Alberta. His early influences were bands like the Beastie Boys, Sublime, and Rage Against the Machine. In 2000 he found himself in Vancouver where he connected with that city's Alternative Country scene and his music moved in that direction but not without lingering traces of his past. In 2002 he released Blam, a genre-bending collection of songs written over the five previous years.

 

"...such Americana authors as Louis l'Amour and John Steinbeck. These authors greatly influenced his writing style -- character-driven story lines with such strong narrative themes as drugs, desperation, ambition, love, racing, unrequited love, and murder, all told with dark humor, skilled rhyming, and a novelist's feel for plot twists and unexpected sentiment."

- Laurie Mercer, AllMusic

 

In 2007 Ridley released the critically acclaimed Buckles and Boots, which definitely had more twang yet still retained a lot of 'get up offa that thang'. Reviewers made comparisons to Hank Williams, George Jones, and Tom T. Hall. Listen carefully to the lyrics of Nine Inch Nails, a truly wry piece of songwriting, and you'll hear references to many of Ridley's musical influencers.


2008 saw Ridley find his way to Winnipeg in classic fashion - for Love. Not long after arriving he hooked up with guitar slinger Chris Dunn and has since established himself as a premier show in town. That collaboration was behind 2010's Rabbit On my Wheel and 2014's Wildcard.


Trudy and I first heard Ridley and band in 2012 when friends invited us to a backyard concert on Kingston Row. There, on a deck over looking the Red River with a pseudo Mexican Cantina as a backdrop, we were treated to a fun and fine evening of inventive music - at one and the same time familiar and new.


Wits End and The Park Theatre are hosting Ridley & the Killer Tumbleweeds (Chris Dunn, Joanna Miller, Gilles Fournier, and Ken Campbell) on Thursday, June 16 at The Park Theatre. Tickets are available through Eventbrite or directly though me at ian.mattey@gmail.com


We really hope you can join us and be part of what surely will be a kick-ass show!




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