Dylan Michael Bentley could be the next great artist to come out of central Illinois
A lot of people are rooting for Dylan Michael Bentley, including his girlfriend, his mother and father, his many siblings and countless friends. He’s got a solid network of support rooted in his hometown of Sheldon, near Watseka in Iroquois County amid the vast expanse of central Illinois.
It’s a fertile wellspring of talent that has produced such musical storytellers as Chris Corkery, Cody Diekhoff of Chicago Farmer and Ed Anderson of Backyard Tire Fire and Magic Box. Bentley follows in their footsteps with a purposeful nod to the trail they’ve blazed, like Hercules standing on the shoulders of giants.
Bentley’s an incredibly gifted songwriter. Wise beyond his 23 years, already sober and determined to find truth through his music. He’s a raw talent though, a diamond in the rough who is bound to improve with experience. One can’t help but wonder how good he’ll sound as he becomes more polished.
Take his latest release, “Change In the Wind,” recorded between August and October at his parent’s home, where he and his dad often listen to Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska.” One can hear those influences on the new record. “Change In the Wind” is a solid collection of thoughtfully honest, passionately delivered songs performed mainly on acoustic guitar with some harmonica accompaniment, a little piano and some less-than-perfect drum sounds. Bentley plays all the instruments on this latest self-released effort.
When you evaluate this album solely on its songwriting merits, it’s very good. Some parts are great. A well-defined thread runs through the melodies and the lyrics, and some lines resonate extremely well. There’s a wonderfully crafted theme of hopeful ambition, with arrangements that bring in electric guitar and sweet harmonies.