Nino Muñoz


Country artist DIERKS BENTLEY takes listeners on an aural journey with his new album — and ends on a high note.


During the past two years, life has certainly not been boring for 38-year-old country singer Dierks Bentley. From the passing of his father in 2012 to the birth of his first son in October 2013 (he’s married and also has two daughters), Bentley has dealt with painful losses and amazing highs. As a musical artist, he’s channeled such circumstances into the 12 tracks on his recently released seventh studio album, Riser (Capitol Nashville, $13).

“I Hold On,” the record’s lead single and one Bentley says is his favorite he’s written, tracks the Arizona native’s memorable trip with his dad from Phoenix to Nashville to try to “make it” when he was 19. “I still drive that truck; it’s my only vehicle,” he says. “I’ve been offered free trucks, but I just like that truck. A lot of stuff doesn’t work on it anymore, but it goes backwards and goes forwards and it stops, which are the three main requirements for any vehicle.”

Another standout track, “Damn These Dreams,” opens with a reference to his first love as a teenager — music — and builds up to the family he loves today and how hard it is to leave them when he goes on the road. “That song is just really honest, that is in a way almost too honest,” Bentley says. “It almost didn’t make it on the record, but I’m glad it did.”

The past few years have seen Bentley on the road quite a bit, and the good times he shares with his bandmates and fans on tour make their way onto Riser. Songs such as “Pretty Girls,” “Five,” “Back Porch” and the destined-to-be anthem of this coming summer, “Sounds of Summer,” create an excellent balance for the heavier material on the album.

“I love having fun and being around people who are enjoying themselves and having a good time, and that’s what my live shows are all about,” Bentley says.

“Hopefully the album can live up to its name, Riser. Starting from one spot, which is being with my dad and losing him and then ending in a much higher place — about as high as you can get, having your first son being born. I feel like it definitely took me on that ride, and I think it’ll take listeners on that ride and has all of the elements within this thing called life kind of represented on the record.”