As fans, we’ve waited a long time for new music from Dierks Bentley. We’ve watched from silent web cams, made up stories about the players in the Asheville, NC studio as well the songs. And because Dierks had to make an album that was as creatively satisfying as “Up On the Ridge,” no one knew what to expect: including Dierks.
HOME debuted yesterday morning to an amped up Dierks getting ready to play the Today Show and the number two overall album spot on ITunes. Number 1 on the ITunes Country Charts. Dierks has been quoted about the creative process, finding the right sounds after Ridge. And he wouldn’t be true to himself if he left out the persuasion of mandolins and fiddle in a bluegrass bent towards the album. So this album finds him firmly settled in knowing who he is and what sounds mirror his feelings. The sounds have matured with him, becoming more complex, more encompassing, more feeling.
The fun is still there in Am I the Only One and Tip It On Back. Rowdy drinking songs that have been associated with the fun, bad boy side of Bentley from the beginning.
But the heart of the man is still there. He’s Everyman. The interesting thing about Dierks’ music is everyone sees and identifies with something different. From the rowdy 5-1-5-0 and Gonna Die Young, his vocals ease over the emotion and grab our attention. There’s balance in the album. It encompasses a little bit of all of us. The Woods (Jon Randall Stewart) a mid-tempo song, flirts with familiar advertising lines. Diamonds Make Babies (Jim Beavers) provides a great live show segue but doesn’t have the same effect on the album as it can’t slip past the cliché.
However, any female will tell you that the gravel in Bentley’s voice makes them pay attention to the ballads. For the ballads on this album are stellar. When You Gonna Come Around (Jamie Hartford) incorporates a style that makes you ache to see where it leads. Karen Fairchild from Little Big Town provides a smoky quality to the vocals that match well with Bentley’s gravel and provide sexual tension. Breathe You In (Ryan Tyndell) requires you to listen more than once. And ends with you licking your lips. Heart of a Lonely Girl (Charlie Worsham) incorporates those bluegrass elements never far from Bentley’s heart.
But the two stellar songs that can’t be missed on this album are Home (Wilson, Beavers, Bentley) and Thinking of You (Beavers, Bentley). Home, complex enough to encompass our nation and all the ideas and persuasions that divide us as well as bind us to each other. Sitting at #7 on the Billboard and Mediabase charts when the album was debuted, Home speaks to all of us. It supports our diversity as well as our connections. It’s as positive a song as it's possible to be, and filled with hope. Bentley supports this vocally masterfully as I expect it’s a difficult song to sing.
But my favorite is Thinking of You. The song is subtle and you buy right in, Bentley’s vocals are superior and perfect for the tune. It’s not until the end that you understand where he’s going with it. No surprise about where the album is going though. It’s going to number one with the fans.
DB Congress Rep, CA