After a massively successful rise to the a-list of country music hitmakers with his previous two albums Riser and Black, Dierks Bentley was ready to blend what’s worked on those records with what made Up On The Ridge such a critically-acclaimed affair. The opening trio of “Burning Man,” “The Mountain” and “Living” certainly put forth the footing to support Dierks’ musical idea. “Burning Man,” is a rocking, rootsy affair which features Brothers Osborne while “The Mountain” is Dierks telling his story of his career to be where he’s at. It has a folksy, pulsating melodic groove while “Living” is anthemic in approach with loop-y percussive beats backing lyrics about living life to fullest, even when it may seem like a mundane. These are the kinds of songs Dierks Bentley has always excelled at and they set the stage for what is to come on the following ten tracks.
Lead single “Woman, Amen” was released at the right time as it praises the women in Dierks life and life in general for what they do for him and us all. “You Can’t Bring Me Down” is ready for radio, too, with an extended acoustic country vibe and stellar mandolin and violin musical breaks (which isn’t surprising as Sam Bush provides the mandolin pickin’ on this track). “Goodbye In Telluride” is about not ending the good vibes that come from a time in Colorado. It’s simply Dierks hoping to not have a favorite place ruined by a breakup in the serene location.
Known for his guitar-driven music, Dierks Bentley switches things up and goes for his inner crooner on the piano-laced “My Religion,” a sweet song about how love for his wife is strong. “Son of a Sun” and “My Way” tell stories like “Travelin’ Light” is perhaps the most-roots oriented single on the entire album. A duet with Brandi Carlile, It’s everything the “Up On The Ridge” album promised from Dierks all those yers ago while “How I’m Goin’ Out” is about as self-aware a country song can be as it talks about a guy who knows how he’ll leave the rat race and music biz behind.
Dierks Bentley makes wonderful records. Records which are truly records and The Mountain feels like one of his best.