Gone is the party country boy Dierks Bentley and we should be welcoming his very real counterpart in music. Riser was written with a new outlook on life, love, and death. After the loss of his father, Bentley pushed the album back, and kept recording. His albums have been consistently travelling in this direction, but we see a very different Bentley on this album.
Riser is probably his best work yet. Coming from a much more personal standpoint, you can really feel how much his sound has grown over the years. The album opens with “Bourbon in Kentucky”, which is less about alcohol and more of a reminiscent country song that brought some slight tears to my eyes. It’s a darker song, but a strong opener for Bentley. Bentley’s voice is in top form on this song, and it sets the tone for a very different album for him.
He continues this tone for the rest of the album, and we see true growth in his music, and his life. The highlight of the first few songs for me is “Drunk On a Plane” about a man left at the alter. It’s a deep song that tugs on the heartstrings in a way I’ve never seen Bentley do before. The upbeat tone of the song keeps you interested, and once you realize the song is about letting go of the situation, you can’t help but sing along, and feel with him.
The album’s title track “Riser” is the highlight of the entire album. The song, also on this very personal theme, sticks with you all day. It’s one of those songs that no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to get enough of his rich voice, and the honesty in it. The music itself is a strong statement and truly country with an awesome guitar part to back up the emotion.
My favorite song is a required kickback song for summer 2014 called “Sounds of Summer” that takes you to the smallest and best moments you have in the summertime. It’s a jam that you feel like you could crack open a cold beer and sit on the beach to.
All in all, the album is worth giving a listen. The cathartic experience you see Bentley have through it translates very well into the music and lyrics. It’s a very positive and different change for him. It definitely doesn’t disappoint on the level of growth and change in life, and it’s a true country album to its core.