Dierks Bentley sure has been busy over the last ten plus years. His latest catalogue installment Riser is his seventh studio album since his 2003 debut. A lot can happen to a person in a decade; situations that are desirable, undesirable or somewhere in the middle. Riser‘s overall persona, if an album can take one on, is extremely open. Bentley is clearly no stranger to life experience, he has poured his heart and soul into this project.
Riser‘s opening track (and first single) Bourbon in Kentucky introduces the album nicely. You know you are listening to a country album when track number one is bejewelled with classic country characteristics; consumption of alcohol, heartbreak, that southern-style vocal and basic harmonies. Well, ok, maybe the mentioning of alcohol in country music was exaggerated but nonetheless Bourbon In Kentucky is a great song. Say You Do may be best interpreted as Bentley seeking the attention of a previous partner, even going as far as wanting a bar of her even if she were lying. Not to mention it is another down tempo song with a similar harmony to the previous track. Question: When will we get to the more upbeat stuff?
Answer: Now! Third track, and single number two, I Hold On comes in with an awesome guitar riff and a consistent drum beat; a powerful chorus will never go astray. Bentley exclaims that he holds on to everything he believes in, to quote “faith, love and freedom”, this is the album’s self actualisation song. Going by the first three tracks, Riser is an intriguing listen. Pretty Girls is easy going, Here On Earth is a soul-seeking ode and Drunk on a Plane is very self explanatory.
Riser was consistent with its theme of self growth, but the songs remained heavily similar. Even so, the lyrics of each song will keep you connected with Bentley on his personal journey. Final upbeat song on the album, Back Porch, is the most laid back and carefree track which actually allows you to envision yourself chilling on the back porch and drinking with your pals. The album closes with final track Hurt Somebody, which nicely wraps things up on a sentimental note.
Overall, Riser is an exemplary album and a worthy addition to Dierks Bentley’s discography. Definitely recommended for current and future fans of Bentley, as well as hardcore country music listeners. In some instances, some “oomph” was missing, but this was compensated for with home truths and relatable experiences.