Just five years into his career, Dierks Bentley initially was against the idea of releasing a ‘best of’ album. But when he decided that it’d be a good time to show thanks to the loyal fans that supported him, an innovative and interactive concept was born. Through his website, Dierks received 3,000 fans opinions about the cover art, album name, and what songs to include on the record, outside of the obvious hits. It’s a stroke of marketing genius that gives a rather pedestrian Greatest Hits album some buzz.
Current hit single “Free And Easy (Down The Road I Go)” leads off the record and instantly showcases the road dong lifestyle that Dierks Bentley enjoys. The melody features banjo, rocking telecasters and an over-all Waylon Jennings-like style that has endeared Bentley to traditionalist fans as well as Dierks’ contemporary fans. While a strong songwriter, Dierks has shown a willingness to record other artists’ stuff and he does so here with one of the two new recordings presented here. Radney Foster’s “Sweet & Wild” is a cool little love song with a smoky, Texas country vibe that suits Dierks like a glove. It also features Sarah Buxton, one of country music’s most underrated artists. The other new track is “With The Band.” The lyrics discuss an inspired way to hang out with an artist backstage: just tell the ‘big attitude dude’ that you’re ‘with the band.’ It recalls other Bentley songs, including “What Was I Thinkin’” but it’s a pure, fun summer-y type of song that radio eats up.
The fans selected the five live tracks that encompass the end of this album. Although they’re from four separate shows, they give casual fans a peek at what his previously released live DVD, “Live At The Fillmore,” sounds like. So while Dierks was right to be skeptical of his label’s idea of releasing “Greatest Hits // Every Mile A Memory 2003 – 2008,” he has hit upon what has traditionally made country music stars adored: they know that their fans are the reason for their careers. It is that awareness that’s made Bentley one of country’s brightest stars and one that makes this album a success.