Dierks Bentley’s first release in two years, Riser, is being called his “most real and personal album yet.” After experiencing significant life events within two years time, the passing of his father and the birth of his son, Dierks returned to the studio, and recorded on the road, an album full of reflective, emotional and (mostly) mature songs.
If you are looking for a record full of songs like “5-1-5-0” and “How Am I Doin’” be prepared for something different. Dierks writes in the liner notes that he “started writing and recording in a place of real grief and ended in a place of true gratitude.” The album encompasses a variety of moods from solemn to sad, and inspirational to joyful. Throughout the record, one hears Dierks’s gravelly vocals, perhaps at the best they have been, pouring emotions into every song.
Riser is ballad heavy, with even the lyrically “lighter” songs showcasing a mellow, scaled back sound. The album contains twelve songs, including his current autobiographical top ten single “I Hold On.” The album starts off with the dark, Kacey Musgraves assisted, “Bourbon in Kentucky” then moves onto the sensual, yet melancholy, “Say You Do.” In it, he pleads, begs even, for that one person to say yes for a night because he wants her back so badly. “Well, couldn’t you say you do/Say you might for tonight/Have a heart, bend the truth/Even if you don’t, couldn’t you.” In the same vein is “Hurt Somebody,” which closes out the album. In it, he knows that the woman with the “red lipstick like a smoking gun” is “gonna hurt somebody” but says “God, I hope it’s me.” Chris Stapleton provides backing vocals on the track.
Prepare a box, or two, of tissues for “Here On Earth” which Dierks co-wrote about his father and the Sandy Hook shootings. Anyone who has experienced the pain and struggle of losing someone will be affected by this song. And even if you haven’t, there is no doubt this song will touch you.
Then, keep the tissues handy for “Damn These Dreams.” The song juxtaposes the thrill of living out his musical dreams with the pain of having to leave behind his wife and children in order to do so.
If “I Hold On” is the first chapter in an autobiography, then “Riser,” written by Travis Meadows and Steve Moalker, would be chapter two. It is an anthem for any one who has experienced a strain or hardship and managed to pull through.
“Sounds of Summer” and “Pretty Girls” lyrically lighten the mood of the album, although the melodies are still “chill”. In the latter, Dierks sings about having nothing to do in town when the sun goes down except “watchin’ pretty girls drink tall boys/swingin’ their hips to a country song/silver cans up in the air.” The former, with its mandolin infused background, vividly paints images of that season we all look forward to with its tractors, kids playing, fishing and a cooler in the truck.
“Five” takes a look at the urgency a first love brings and how reconnecting with that person after years is possible.
“Drunk On A Plane” infuses humor into a song about trying to drown out the pain of a broken engagement while drinking one’s sorrow away in the clouds.
A slightly reworked “Back Porch,” which was a song originally on the Country and Cold Cans EP, is also on the album. The only true uptempo song on the record, it brings a much needed twang and funk. The song has hit summer single written all over it.
Riser is an unhurried record that will be undoubtedly be appreciated by anyone who likes lyric driven country music. It's perfect.
Earlier this month, we heard Lee Brice perform his new single "I Don't Dance" on Luke Bryan's That's My Kind of Night Tour at Madison Square Garden in NYC. He told the crowd that it was going to be his new single and that it was one he wrote for, and is dedicated to, his wife.
"I Don't Dance" was written by Lee Brice and Rob Hatch. The song is an emotional ballad, with minimal production, that highlights Lee's vocals. The song showcases a softness and warmth in Lee's voice which conveys the lyrics with sincerity and believability.
"I Don't Dance" is a song many guys will relate to. It is about finding that special someone who has such a hold on their heart that they find themselves doing things they ordinarily wouldn't.
"I don't dance but here I am spinning you round and round in circles
It ain't my style but I don't care
I'd do anything with you anywhere
Yes you got me in the palm of your hand girl
'Cause I don't dance"
Key Lyrics "Love’s never come my way / I’ve never been this far / ‘Cause you took these two left feet / And waltzed away with my heart”
The single is available for download
For more information visit www.leebrice.com
I wasn’t sure it was possible, but he did it. Eric Church topped his CMA and ACM Album of The Year Chief with the stellar The Outsiders. Everything you expect from Eric is here; the quality songwriting full of relatable stories, the unique take on tried and true topics, and a wide range of sounds all taken to the next level and made unique and fresh.
The twelve creative tracks include “The Outsiders” as well as his current single “Give Me Back My Hometown.” The songs run the gamut from metal infused head bangers to country ballads to fist thumping anthems, showing that Eric can not only be a rebellious bad ass, but emotional and sweet as well.
“Cold One” isn’t about having a beer on a tailgate, but rather a tongue in check song about a woman who left him “hanging high and dry in that hell hot summer sun.” The groove is a funky one which slides into an all out bluegrass pickin’ fest before is slinks back into a soulful horn filled finale.
If you think “The Joint” is another song about marijuana, listen again. The trombone filled, atmospheric song has a woman setting ablaze the joint where her husband spends a good amount of time. The story told is so clear, you can see it as you hear it.
“Roller Coaster Ride,” a song about the ups and down of breakups, has an 80’s feel. The pairing of the boom of the piano with the thumping beat has you feeling like you’re flying off the track with him.
Eric takes you on a trip down memory lane in “Talladega,” which is about remembering what it was like for a group of guys when they were young and carefree.
The rollicking “Broke Record” is about being unable to quit loving a girl, even though the obsession isn’t a healthy one. “You’re a song I gotta sing….when it gets to the end I gotta play it again and again.”
“Like A Wrecking Ball” is an organ driven ballad that is so downright sexy, it makes me uncomfortable to listen. He paints an incredibly vivid picture of a guy who misses his wife...a lot. “That old house is gonna be shakin’, I hope those bricks and boards can take it/But I wont be surprised if the whole damn place just falls/I wanna rock you baby like a wrecking ball.”
“A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young” is a sparsely arranged song where you focus on Eric’s voice and the story he tells, which is an ode to the love of his wife. In the smokey, atmospheric “Dark Side,” we learn that there are things that he has done that he doesn’t want his wife and son to know. However, that side would reappear if anyone ever did anything against his son.
He rocks out on both “Devil, Devil” and the rowdy, yet soulful “That’s Damn Rock and Roll”. In the latter, over thumping drum beats and hand claps, he lets you know what rock n’ roll isn’t “long hair, tattoos, or playing too loud” and what it is “about doing for nothing cause it lives in your soul.” In the former, which is eight minutes long, he speaks about making it in Nashville, but if you can hang in until the 3:35 mark the song really kicks into gear.
The Outsiders takes you on a musically adventurous ride from first note to last. It is the first great record of 2014; one that is sure to earn Eric another award or two by year’s end.
The album will be released February 11th.
It is available for pre-order wherever you purchase music.
It has been eight months since the release of her previous single. Now, Miranda Lambert is back with “Automatic,” the debut single from her fifth album which will be released sometime later this year.
“Automatic’ is a song about the good life,” said Miranda of the single “It’s about slowing down, taking a breath and remembering what it’s like to live life a little more simply. It’s not about going back, but reminiscing about what it was like to hang laundry on the line and wait for it to dry and my dad teaching me how to drive my ’55 Chevy that I still have but don’t drive nearly enough,”
“Automatic,” which was written by Miranda, along with Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby, is a thoughtful, lyric driven song. It starts off with an acoustic introduction then builds to a mid tempo melody with an easy to sing along to chorus. In the autobiographical track, she reflects on the days of cassettes, watching sun tea brew, and driving to Dallas to buy an Easter dress. Many listeners of a certain age will be able to relate to lyrics that will have you fondly recalling times when you wrote letters, used a camera where you had to shake the picture to see it and rolled the “windows with the cranks” down. When she sings about hanging the laundry out to dry, I could see my grandmother's yard, the clothes poles, as we called them and smell the clothes on the line. A good song is supposed to connect to the listener, right?
Going a bit deeper, the song also points out the value of working for and at something, (“staying married was the only way to work your problems out,”) and taking satisfaction in the process instead of simply having instant gratification.
“Hey whatever happened to waiting your turn
Doing it all by hand
‘Cause when everything is handed to you it’s only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seems so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic”
One thing you should make "Automatic" is getting and playing this song.