Iconic Canadian musician Jim Byrnes is one of the headliners at Panoramas first-ever music festival next weekend.Photo submitted

By James Rose

Special to The Pioneer

One week! Thats it before the first-ever High Notes Music Festival at Panorama Mountain Resort gets underway. This weeks artist profile features two heavy hitters in the music business and the festivals Saturday night Pepsi Main Stage headliners.

Musicians Barney Bentall and Jim Byrnes will be joined by Leeroy Stagger for a show that promises to not disappoint and is already on track to sell out.

Tickets sales are really strong for their show and if anyone hasnt snapped up tickets yet they should do so sooner than later before they are all gone! said Clarissa Amaro, the festivals co-ordinator.

Jim Byrnes is from St. Louis, Missouri home to blues, rock n roll, and country/western music. Jim grew up in a veritable music melting pot and it is safe to say that after hearing him play, it was in the water he drank, too.

Down the road from his childhood home, young Jim could hear the likes of Ike and Tina Turner wailing away as the house band at a nearby bowling alley. And not far from there, blues legend Albert King had a weekly gig at Club Monaco where any passerby could hear the searing sounds of Mr. King bending his six-string.

But it was Canada where Mr. Byrnes would eventually settle. He moved to Vancouver in the mid-70s after years of drifting, working odd jobs and playing music. In 1981, he put together a band that became a staple of the local music scene and would routinely play up to 300 dates per year.

Barney Bentall, on the other hand, was born in Toronto, raised in Calgary and, at age 20, headed west to Vancouver to channel his inner Stephen Stills. After a decade or so of cutting his teeth in the Vancouver music scene, he and his Legendary Hearts band made one final push to make it.

As Mr. Bentall says in his web bio, With a couple teeth knocked out, I met with label execs during their heyday in Toronto, and I managed to get the band a record contract with Columbia/Sony Records and a management deal with my good friend Bernie Finkelstein. It just goes to show the power of a song. The next 10 years were a fun, exciting and soul-stretching ride that we all somehow managed to survive.

After those 10 years of constant touring, Mr. Bentall decided that with his young family he would become a rancher. But by 2007, Barney decided it was time to jump back into the musical circus.

Things had changed, to say the least, over those years. There were some unwelcome changes for me, but there were a lot of good ones as well. The last seven years have been a great continuation of the journey. I have released three solo records on the quintessential Canadian label founded by Bernie Finkelstein called True North Records.

For both Jims and Barneys performance at High Notes, festival goers can expect to hear an eclectic range of sounds with influences from a multitude of genres.

I approach things in a fairly old school way, we try and rock a bit, play some good songs (a combination of new and old) and keep the audience entertained, said Mr. Bentall. To this day, I still like to hit the road and play live and for Panoramas High Notes, Im bringing a great band with me.

Lately, Ive been doing lots of shows with Barney and we each share lots of the same guys in our band, said Mr. Byrnes. So there is a real understanding of

what we do as we each bring our own vision to the live performance.

Throughout the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. (tickets are $70), Leeroy, Jim and Barney will take turns and sit in on a couple numbers for each set.

Everyone is really good friends, said Mr. Byrnes. The camaraderie and sense of brotherhood hopefully will translate to those in attendance.

For more information on Panoramas High Notes Music Festival March 17th to 19th, visit www.panoramaresort.com/high-notes/.

Barney Bentall will grace the Pepsi Main Stage with Jim Byrnes on Saturday, March 18th.Photo submitted