Dierks Bentley: “Up on the Ridge”

My review of the new Dierks Bentley album, Up on the Ridge, is posted at CT– and believe it or not, I quite like it. The general consensus among critics seems to be that the album is praiseworthy for its ambition, for how Bentley breaks away from the modern country tropes that he’s spent most of his career refining, but to my ears the album is impressive not for how it breaks away from contemporary country, but for how it integrates it so smartly with traditional mountain music and bluegrass. The whole thing is a stompin’, hollerin’ good time– save for a very solemn cover of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love,” which, as I note in my review, is bizarre in how closely it imitates the original, even as it transplants it into a bluegrass setting. Even the presence of such a track, however, shows just how little interest Bentley has in fitting neatly into the country or bluegrass camps.

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