Posted tagged ‘up on the ridge’

DIERKS BENTLEY, “Up On The Ridge,” Capitol Records. 12 tracks.

June 7, 2010

Dierks Bentley is one of Nashville’s hottest musicians. He’s also a man with a passion for bluegrass, a sound he discovered as a 19-year-old struggling musician in Music City.

His seven chart-topping singes have given Bentley the clout to make “Up On The Ridge,” his fifth album for Capitol, the way he wanted it made.

And that means a lot of bluegrass musicians and a lot of bluegrass influences while still being radio-friendly with appeal to people who think the Eagles invented country music.

The lineup of musicians includes Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers, the Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Rob Ickes, Randy Kohrs, Bryan Sutton, Stuart Duncan, Rob McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Mike Bub and Tim O’Brien.

Del McCoury joins Bentley in a duet on U2’s “Pride (In The Name of Love).”

But this is not a bluegrass album.

Think of it as acoustic Southern rock/country/grass.

There’s a lot of good music on here — and Bentley co-wrote five of the songs.

But the best is “Down in the Mines,” a bluegrass ballad about a place where the choices of making a living are few — “You can grow marijuana back in the pines/or work for the man down in the mines…loading hillbilly gold where the sun never shines.”

The title song is about partying with the woman he loves — or at least lusts for — up in the hills.

“Bad Angel,” which features vocals by Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson, is about “standing at the crossroads of Temptation and Salvation street” and trying to decide which way to go.

“Bottle to the Bottom,” which features vocals by Kris Kristofferson, is a classic drinkin’ song about “falling from the bottle to the bottom, stool by stool.”

This is the way country music should sound, but so seldom does.