The 11th Annual Nashville Scene Country Music Critics Poll was published today, and with it came numerous accolades for our Prez, Dierks Bentley:
- #2 Album - Up on the Ridge
- #12 Single - Up on the Ridge
- #2 Male Vocalist
- #4 Live Act
- #9 Songwriter
- #4 Artist of the Year
And the praise didn't stop there. Here is what Nashville Scene had to say regarding DB in their write-up:
Johnson and Lambert joined forces with Dierks Bentley to share the three-way lead vocal on "Bad Angel" from Bentley's Up on the Ridge, the poll's No. 2 album. Backed by some of Nashville's best bluegrass pickers, the trio employed the lyrics' religious imagery not to dismiss sin but to warily respect its dangerous allure. Bentley isn't the first country star to make a string-band record — Parton and Patty Loveless have both had success in this poll with similar projects — but Bentley is the first since Emmylou Harris to abandon Music Row's standard operating procedure for an acoustic album while still enjoying hit singles.
Bentley was as convincing as Harris, Parton and Loveless because he too came by bluegrass honestly. When he first arrived in Nashville from Phoenix in 1995, he hung around The Station Inn with Del McCoury's sons as much as he could. You could hear that brush with Appalachia in the humor and liveliness of Bentley's early albums, but the echo dwindled as he played it safer and safer on his later records. So it was a welcome surprise that he was willing to gamble his new-won stardom on such a left-field venture. He won that gamble — with the critics at least. The title track got only as high as No. 21 on the Billboard singles chart. Maybe Bentley isn't just along for the ride. Maybe he, too, will have a say in where country is going.
I certainly hope that Dierks has a say in where country is going, and he's set to start writing another chapter in his country music story when he heads to Asheville, NC later this weekend to begin the recording process (and don't forget he'll be streaming the recording process for all to see).
Your Congress is eagerly awaiting new music, Dierks, and we congratulate you on all of the critical praise Ridge garnered! Hopefully a Grammy is in the very near future ...
~ Carrie S (DBC Rep/Chart Reporter ~ NC)