Tuesday, June 8, 2010

With 'Up on the Ridge,' Dierks Bentley stops getting by on looks and hooks

FYI- Dierks Bentley's new release will be featured on this Sunday's Traditional Ties, 5/13 10:00 PM - WYEP 91.3 FM Pittsburgh PA, Streaming on http://wyep.org/

By Chris Richards
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The last time we heard from country star Dierks Bentley, everything was hunky-dorky.

It was the summer of 2009 and the Arizona pretty boy was preening on the top of the charts with "Sideways," a doofy party anthem where the singer's notion of fun felt too good, too clean. It had all the charm of celery.

And that's why Bentley's new album, "Up on the Ridge," qualifies as a both major transformation and minor miracle. The 34-year-old singer has always had a fine ear for hooks, but this time out, he's swaddled them in traditional, bluegrass-inspired arrangements. The results are dazzling -- and for a chart-topping cutie-pie, it's a supremely gutsy move. To prove he means it, he's allowed his neatly trimmed stubble to sprout into a mangy scruff.

But facial hair does not a great album make -- so Bentley mustered a gang of esteemed collaborators for what might be the best country recording we'll hear in 2010. He harmonizes with Vince Gill and Alison Krauss. He duets with Kris Kristofferson and Del McCoury. He covers Bob Dylan and U2. All without flinching. Read more.

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