Album Review: Dierks Bentley "Up On The Ridge"

Country music fans have reason to celebrate. Dierks Bentley is back with a unique bluegrass and roots music album titled "Up On The Ridge." This concept album is a major departure for the country music superstar who routinely sells out arenas all over the USA. But fans cannot help but reward Bentley for staying true to his artistic vision and creating a country music masterpiece.
"Up On The Ridge" begins with the title track that is already blazing a trail up the country music charts. It has a rugged country sound and a powerful musical beat. The melody is reminiscent of the best music of Josh Turner. It's followed by the alt country love song "Fallin' For You." Bentley's hard vocals combined with the biting lyrics make the song sizzle.

"Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" finds Dierks Bentley in more familiar territory. This track (featuring Chris Thile) is a musical gem that hits on all cylinders. But the pace really picks up with "Rovin' Gambler," which is bluegrass through and through. Dierks Bentley is doing his fans a favor by introducing traditional bluegrass music to a new audience.

"Draw Me A Map" has definite country chart potential. It has a consistently solid melody and memorable lyrics. Radio might also embrace "Bad Angel" featuring Miranda Lambert. Every country bar in the nation should be wearing this cut out faster than new boots at the rodeo. However, the best song on the album is the Red Dirt country track "Love Grows Wild." Dierks Bentley hits the ball out of the park with an understated cut that deserves to be Number One on the country charts.

"Fiddlin' Around" also has a winning sound that mixes country and bluegrass. The gospel-tinged "You're Dead To Me" has biting lyrics, and could become a fan favorite. But the most interesting song on the album is the last cut "Down In The Mine." Dierks Bentley has crafted a track that can be only be described as a mixture of the best elements of Chris Knight and George Strait. That's a big compliment, and Bentley sings the lyrics with a quiet intensity that is palpable.

"Bottle To The Bottom" featuring Kris Kristofferson adds an outlaw country element to an already fine album. Both Kristofferson and Bentley have fun with an infectiously toe-tapping track. However, the biggest surprise is the U2 cover "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" Surprisingly, it works.

Taking chances on a concept album is risky in the music business, but Dierks Bentley has dotted every "i" and crossed every "t." In fact, "Up On The Ridge" might be Dierks Bentley's best complete album to date. And with a back catalog as strong as his, that's saying something. So if music up on the ridge is this good, then it's about to get a little crowded up there for Dierks Bentley.