BTU to heat up local concert scene

Bentall, Taylor, Ulrich reprise popular show at Thalassa Restaurant Jan. 22-23

From left

It’s not much of a gamble for Thalassa Restaurant of Qualicum Beach to schedule a dinner concert with three legends of the B.C. folk music scene. After all, the same trio has sold out in its two previous visits.

Barney Bentall, Shari Ulrich and Tom Taylor, performing as BTU, will return for two shows Jan. 22 and 23 after debuting here in 2013 and returning for two shows last January.

“This has become an annual event,” admitted Oura Giakoumakis, owner of the restaurant at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course. “That was our intention; people were saying there wasn’t anything to do in Qualicum Beach.”

Bentall, Taylor and Ulrich first teamed up in 2007, followed soon after by their first recording Live at Cates Hill. The three solo performers continued a loose collaboration until forming BTU as an ongoing side project beginning in 2013. They are releasing a new album on the Borealis label on Feb. 12th.

Bentall headed up the rock chart-toppers and Juno Award winners Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts through the 1990s, then took a break to try ranching before launching a solo singer-songwriter career in 2007. But he still performs often in multiple collaborative efforts, including occasional shows with the Legendary Hearts and with the bluegrass collective, The High Bar Gang.

Ulrich is a two-time Juno Award winner and a member of the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. A native of California who migrated north at the age of 18, she first became known on the West Coast music scene as a multi-instrumentalist with the Pied Pumkin and as a singer for the Hometown Band.

She has previously collaborated with Bentall and a who’s who of B.C. folk musicians in the Juno-nominated High Bar Gang.

Taylor started out in the quartet She Stole My Beer with classmates from school in Vancouver, which released two albums and toured extensively. He then embarked on a solo songwriting and recording career, with two solo albums to his credit.

BTU has proven a popular draw at the cozy Thalassa Restaurant, with tickets to previous shows selling out quickly.

“It’s something we’ve talked about,” Giakoumakis said. “Maybe it’s the fact there’s Junos behind them and they’re sought after at the big events. Here, it’s that intimate gathering people are enjoying right now.”

Doors open both evenings at 6 p.m., with dinner scheduled for 7 p.m. and the concert beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets for dinner and the concert are $75 each. To reserve tickets or for more information, call 250-594-1150.

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