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Carl grew up in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. He was raised in a holler (Ned’s Fork), along with his two brothers. Influenced by his father who played the guitar and sang in church, he learned to sing at a very early age. He was around 10 years old when his dad played him a Ralph Stanley album featuring Keith Whitley singing. It was at that moment that he decided he wanted to be a singer. His dad taught him to play guitar a few years later and Carl soon began to perform at various venues locally in his hometown of McDowell, Ky. Carl also found his love for Baseball at a very young age. Baseball and Music has had his heart ever since.
Carl attended High School at McDowell High School and later South Floyd High School after McDowell was consolidated with another school. While in high school Carl played in several bands that performed country and bluegrass music around the area. It was around his junior year that Carl learned to write his own songs and enjoyed the challenge of bringing them to light. He placed second in a local song writing contest in which writers had to write a song about coal mining. He wrote a song call “Coal Mining Blues” that caught the attention of then South Floyd Band Director Dennis Bartley. Bartley soon after formed a school show band featuring Carl and other performers. The group played several local events and parades and led to Carl achieving a music scholarship for his music and songwriting skills. Shortly after high school Carl became a regular member of The Mountain Jamboree, a local TV show in Pikeville, Ky. He performed every Saturday night in front of a live audience.
Unfortunately, on March 3, 1996, Carl nearly lost his life in a very bad car accident. It was a Sunday morning, and he was driving to work at a local grocery store in McDowell when he fell asleep at the wheel and struck a large tree. He broke nearly every bone in his face and his ankles. He was air lifted to University of Kentucky Medical Center. With the mercy of God and all the prayers that was prayed, he awoke nearly a week later. Due to a large Tracheotomy tube that has been placed in his Neck and his jaws being wired shut, he could not talk. Imagine a singer who now cannot even talk? Carl will tell you it was a very scary time for him. He would spend the next month and half enduring surgery after surgery. After being released from UK hospital, he was sent to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation center in Lexington, Ky where he learned to walk, talk, and get his strength back. Carl soon found his way back music. In the cafeteria of the Cardinal Hill, was an old piano that nobody every played. “Once I seen it, my head went back to the music, and I started to play on it every chance I got. I barely had strength to walk but that piano just begged me every time I seen it”. Carl eventually made a full recovery and returned to the stage about 6 months after. Carl and several other local musicians formed a group “The Blue Eagle Band”. The group had local success playing a lot of events and festivals in the area. Shortly after Carl married his high school girlfriend Amanda Foreman and they had their son Dakota Ryan Bentley together. Dakota would later become a very good singer himself and preacher. Carl and Amanda separated a few months into their marriage and eventually got a divorce.
Carl Attended College at Eastern Kentucky University where he would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems. While in college Carl played every Saturday night on the Conway Barn Dance in Conway Kentucky. The show showcased both country and bluegrass musicians. Carl performed in both segments of the show. His strong vocals soon caught the attention of the show’s host Al Lawson. Lawson invited Carl to be a member of the house band where he showcased his songwriting and vocal talents every Saturday night. In addition to barn dance, he formed a group with some other musicians on campus and they played some local gigs.
In 2004 After college Carl moved to Indiana as there was not much work in Eastern Kentucky at the time. Music was his love but just was not paying the bills. He was offered a job at the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles as a software programmer. Carl soon found his way back to the stage playing bluegrass music with a local band “The Indiana Boys”. The band was well liked in the area and played a lot of festivals and local events. It was at one of these events that he met his second wife Kristi Burris. Carl and Kristi were married in December of 2005. It was around this time that Carl formed his own bluegrass band “Carl Bentley and Eagle Creek”. The group played a lot of shows all over the Midwest for several years including traveling as far as Lincoln Nebraska. Carl signed a small recording agreement with lightning struck records in which he recorded two albums. Kristi gave birth to Carl’s youngest son Carl Mason on 6/26/2007.
Carl is still in Indiana and currently working on a new album with hopes of releasing it in the winter of 2022 or early 2023. The album will feature songs Carl wrote as well as some classic covers of both country and bluegrass. He will be back on the road in 2023 doing what he loves. When not playing music, Carl coaches his son’s travel baseball team.
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