I remember a phone call by Bertolf Lentink once, telling me he basically was planning to end his solo career. For a while after he toured with other bands, but eventually decided to release and perform under his own name again. Well, thank fuck for that. If you’ve followed The Influences over the past fifteen years, you’ll know by now that I consider Bertolf to be one of The Netherlands, no, the world’s finest songwriters and guitarists. In this third solo session (and fifth overall) for The Influences, he recorded covers of Madison Cunningham, Chris Thile and Gordon Lightfoot.

This year he released his ‘dream album’ Bluefinger, with bluegrass versions of a selection of his own songs – recorded in Nashville with a bunch of his heroes, like Jerry Douglas on dobro. I highly recommend you listen to this album, and then work your way backwards through Bertolf’s catalogue. About twelve years ago, I traveled to the South of France to film a short documentary on the recordings of his third – self-titled – record. In that studio, I was just as amazed by his talent, vision and persistence, as I was watching the documentary that recently aired on Dutch television about Bluefinger. To hear his own heroes say that they consider Bertolf as good as they get, must have meant the world to him. All we can hope is that more people will realize it as well.

“Amazing guitar playing, harmonic and melodic richness and lyrics that keep intriguing me.”

“No music had hit me as hard as Madison Cunningham’s music in quite a while. She’s a brilliant songwriter who’s got it all. There’s something in the vibrato of her voice that makes me melt. And then there’s her amazing guitar playing, her harmonic and melodic richness and her lyrics that keep intriguing me. I hear so many influences in her work that I love as well. She’s like a Joni Mitchell, Rufus Wainwright and Aimee Mann all in one.”

“I chose to do In From Japan because that’s the song that drew me into her wonderful Revealer album, and it’s a song I listened to at least ten times a day during the summer of 2022.”

“Here’s a guy who takes it even further!”

Song For A Young Queen is the opening track of Chris Thile’s brilliant instrumental album Not All Who Wander Are Lost from 2001. The first time I heard it, it blew me away. I was like: ‘Here’s a guy who takes it even further!’ I hereby also openly admit that this piece was a big inspiration for my own Team Hoover. Here’s me trying to do it as a solo guitar piece.”

“I love all of the Me & My Guitar album”.

“Tony Rice’s album Me & My Guitar is such a huge album for me. I covered the title track for a The Influences session before. But I love all of that album. There’s a lot of extraordinary guitar playing on it, but also many great renditions of Gordon Lightfoot songs; Tony’s favorite songwriter.”

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In From Japan (Madison Cunningham)
Tidal | Apple Music

Song For A Young Queen (Chris Thile)
Tidal | Apple Music

Song For A Winter’s Night (Gordon Lightfoot)
Tidal | Apple Music


Apple Music


Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Audio recorded & mixed by Matthijs van der Ven.

The livingroom of Bertolf’s parents
Dronten, The Netherlands

Familie Lentink
Excelsior Recordings

There is no better way to discover music than watching great musicians cover the songs they love. The Influences has been producing these videos ever since 2008.

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Thank you for watching and enjoying this session. You’ll probably like these earlier sessions with Bertolf from The Influences’ archive too.

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