Mike Bentley – "All I’ve Got"
Union House Records – 2017
Reviewed By: Devin Adams
After ten years and three projects with Cumberland Cap Connection, Mike Bentley decided it was finally time to step out to try something new, something all his own. The time was right for a change of pace and the temptation to work with a different group of friends was too much to pass by. “All I’ve Got,” Bentley’s first solo project, and his first with Union House Records, is the result of that temptation.
The collection of friends Bentley has assembled is astounding including the likes of producer Alan Bibey, also on mandolin, Rob Ickes on Dobro and Justin Jenkins on banjo just to name a few. Vocally Bentley’s smooth baritone rings reminiscent of Keith Whitley and is joined in harmony by Ronnie Bowman and
Shawn Lane (also on fiddle) as well as Charli Robertson of Flatt Lonesome, who lends her voice on the beautifully sad duet “Someone Else.”
”All I’ve Got” is not only loaded with stellar musicians but with top songwriters as well, including The Mighty Cord, Larry Cordle and Larry Snell’s “Homeless,” a cleverly written metaphor about a lost love. Bentley delivers on a pair of Harley Allen tunes in “My Remains” and “Casualties Along the Way” with the latter showing off some tasty fiddle work from Lane. Bentley includes a pair of gospel songs as well with “What Are You Doing Here” and his own “In Your Love.” “Train,” written by Bowman and Tim Stafford, closes out “All I’ve Got” with a story about finally going home after chasing dreams and coming up empty.
The term “new traditional” was thrown around while brainstorming ideas for “All I’ve Got” and that is definitely a perfect description. Bentley and friends have created a highly satisfying project that rings a little bit traditional and a little bit modern that blends well in a mix of pure traditional and progressive bluegrass. Bentley struck gold with “All I’ve Got,” but he is sure to find more very soon.