Forget hard times – these days, too many country stars are just looking for the party. Compared to what gets played on country radio, Dierks Bentley can almost sound like a traditionalist, with his hickory voice and songs about drinking, and whose tones range on his seventh album from tormented ("Bourbon in Kentucky") to goofy ("Drunk on a Plane"). And to his credit, when he sings about his truck on "I Hold On," it's a heartfelt tribute to a well-built thing that reminds him of his dead dad. But Bentley can't quite get away from his inner bro: On tracks like "Pretty Girls" and "Back Porch," he devolves into a standard-issue world of bikinis and Bud Light.
From The Archives Issue 1204: March 13, 2014