Riser (2014)

For the most of his career, a 39-year-old American singer Dierks Bentley showed care and appreciation of an old-school country music, balancing between radio-friendly smash hits and deep thoughtful projects, like his 2010’s “Up on the Ridge”. That is fairly not common on today’s country scene. And we got to pay some respect to entertainers like Dierks, for not completely defacing the genre to the point where people will stop caring about the music itself. That said, Bentleys’ last release “Home” clearly wasn’t his profoundest LP. Some regular patriotic anthems helped the record top the charts, however critics and true country fans were not as pleased. But, there is a hope that in 2014 Bentley is fully immersing himself to raise the quality of his work, releasing a pretty solid album with the title “Riser”.

You can easily say that an artist made this record during a number of life-changing points: Dierks’ father passed away and his son was born. Brought to the studio, those moments definitely played crucial roles in song writing and recording an album. Right from the start, the opener “Bourbon in Kentucky”, which was released as a single, shares a warm yet forceful message. A nostalgic number “I Hold On” gorgeously shares its stories through a beautiful melody and an emotional lyrical material. From a production side improvements are very noticeable too: arrangements are slick and catchy, instrumentation feels great and the mixing breathes. Overall, there are only a few downside moments on this record. Highly strong track list speaks to us with pride and joy: this is a good Dierks Bentley album.

What might have been missed on a Dierks’ previous full-length attempt finds its place here. It is a smart and honest record, with no fan-base limitations: both new fans and long-time country admirers will appreciate Bentleys’ emotional flow, while musically it’s his best LP yet. Lively recorded, “Riser” brings a concert feeling, which is a best sign of a natural and genuine creative work.

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