Black Music Matters Festival

Dierks Bentley

Long Trip Alone – 2006 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley may be ready for prime time with his third CD. His first two yielded a bunch of number ones for an artist with a cool personality and country and bluegrass musical chops to boot.

And having avoided the sophomore slump, Bentley continues in the right direction here. There's a bit of a swagger and confidence in Bentley's voice -- the guy sings with attitude (the upbeat "Can't Live It Down"), and that's high praise with many singers today putting it all out. He also gets tender on the title track with Aubrey Haynie's sad sounding fiddle.

Bentley doesn't stray too far from what got him where he is. Not a bad thing, of course, and perhaps one would have liked him to stretch out even further, but make no mistake -- this is an album of high quality.

Bentley throws bluegrass into the mix on the very fine closing "Prodigal Son's Prayer" featuring The Grascals. Bentley is adept at the style and deserves credit for making it part of the mix.

Proving that the first two were no flukes, Bentley has found third time the charm to be still true.