​​Ridley Bent is set to release his fourth full-length album Wildcard, Saturday April 5 at the Park Theatre.

'Everybody's rockin' at once.' - Ridley Bent

Bent says he's happy with the new recording. "I'm very excited with how everything turned out," he said with a smile.

The album is made up of nine songs and three bonus tracks entitled The Blood Trilogy. It's written by Bent and his long-time lyrical collaborators Cameron Latimer and Dustin Bentall. The trio has a musical history that includes time spent together in a band.

"We were called The Bottle and the Truth. Sometimes we just wanted to be on stage and take turns singing each other's songs," Bent said. "We always wanted to do a record, and we wrote quite a few songs together, but it just never worked out. Some of those songs are on my records and some are on Dustin's, like Nine Inch Nails (Buckles & Boots) we wrote together, Cry was all three of us, and Big Black Hole on the new record is the three of us."

A cover of Tom Petty's You Got Lucky was something that Bent knew he wanted to include on Wildcard. "I was driving out to Clearwater Bay (Ont.), and that song came on," he remembers. "And it was just one of those moments. I really loved the groove, and I started playing it on my acoustic guitar."

"I played it two years in a row with (Barney Bentall's) Grand Caribou Opry, and it went over very well. When it came time to do this record, I already had it in my brain that I wanted to do a cover of this tune ... y'know, 'good love is hard to find', that's just an awesome chorus." 

Ridley Bent cover art

Ridley Bent's Wildcard available April 29 (courtesy ridleybent.ca)

The new release also marks the third time Bent has worked with producer John MacArthur Ellis (Doc Walker, Barney Bentall), and music partner Chris Dunn (Duo-Twang, The Killer Tumbleweeds), two musical mentors Bent holds in high regard.

"I like him (John) as a person, I like him as a player, and I especially like him as a producer," says Bent. "He is so good in the studio, I like his method; his process of bringing the whole band in and recording it all at once. I mean, to me, that's the biggest thing about John. For the most part, all the stuff on my last three records have been recorded live, off-the-floor," he reveals. "Everybody's rockin' at once."

In 2009, Ellis was named Producer of the Year by both the British Columbia Country Music Association and the BC Indie Music Awards, and was nominated in 2010 and 2011 for his work on the pedal steel guitar, in the Canadian Country Music Association’s Special Instrument Category.

When it came to writing the music for Wildcard, Bent relied on his strong relationship and trust in Dunn.."We're usually collaborating for my project," Bent explains. "I'll come up with a lyrical idea, even some chord changes, and his input and the way he plays guitar will always add to it."  

"An example," he continues, "is Big Black Hole. It was shelved for a while, but I always liked the lyric. And when I showed it to Chris, it turned into this rockabilly vibe, which I totally loved."

Dunn has a lot of great songs of his own, according to Bent. "He'd love to do a record, and I think he will at one point," he says. "He has an amazing voice." 

Bent surrounds himself with a familiar cast of veteran musicians on the new album, including bassist Rob Becker (Barney Bentall), drummer Pat Steward and keyboardist Simon Kendall (Odds)

"The 'Old Pros', I call them," Bent laughs.  "Actually I call them my 'Good-Lookin' Band'."

Ridley Bent releases Wildcard on April 29. The release concert takes place April 5 at the Park Theatre.

Hear Ridley Bent in conversation with host Bruce Ladan on SCENE. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon.