Bluefinger – Bertolf Lentink

Bertolf Lentink, who simply goes by the name Bertolf, is a Dutch singer and guitarist whose appreciation for bluegrass was spawned at an early age. His early influences included Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Mark O’Connor, and, perhaps most notably, his father, who was a multi-instrumentalist and an amateur musician early on. 

Bertolf’s  current band, Bluefinger, provides the title of his new album on Excelsior Recordings, but it’s the names of those that participate in this series of sessions that play the more prominent roles —Jerry Douglas on dobro, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Mark Schatz on bass, mandolin player David Benedict, and Wes Corbett playing banjo — and figure most prominently in the effort overall. Recorded in Nashville, it represents Bertolf’s most determined attempt yet in terms of establishing himself as one of today’s prime players. In addition to playing guitar and singing the lion’s share of the vocals, he also had a hand in writing all the songs, making this effort all the more impressive in the process.

Indeed, while the title track opens the album as a robust instrumental, it’s the tracks that follow that help define both his proficiency and his prowess. Songs such as Before the Storm and The Way I Love You Know demonstrate early on that musicality and melody figure equally prominently in Bertolf’s efforts. Two other instrumentals, Team Hoover and New Year’s Day, demonstrate the adept picking and profound agility that those involved here so readily employ, but it’s the allure of the album’s beautiful ballads — Jericho, Wrinkles, The Way I Love You Now, and Patty Lane in particular — that make for the most engaging encounters. So too, the casual caress shared in such songs as Another Day, Don’t Look Up, and Cut Me Loose enhance and affirm the album’s overall appeal.

All in all, Bluefinger offers a set of songs that readily affirm Bertolf’s ability to employ both clarity and creativity in equal measure. One can’t help but anticipate what comes next.

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About the Author

Lee Zimmerman

Lee Zimmerman has been a writer and reviewer for the better part of the past 20 years. He writes for the following publications — No Depression, Goldmine, Country Standard TIme, Paste, Relix, Lincoln Center Spotlight, Fader, and Glide. A lifelong music obsessive and avid collector, he firmly believes that music provides the soundtrack for our lives and his reverence for the artists, performers and creative mind that go into creating their craft spurs his inspiration and motivation for every word hie writes.