Album review: Dierks Bentley's 'Home'
After years of turning out well-crafted but formulaic hits, Phoenix-bred country singer Dierks Bentley ventured into the genre’s deeper waters in 2010 with his roots-soaked album “Up On the Ridge,” which gave his always likable voice something worth singing about.
If the title of his latest effort suggests he’s back where he belongs or where he’s most comfortable, it’s doubly disappointing, as this album keeps him for the most part in the shallow end of the pool.
“Home” begins with three tracks that skitter across the surface of real feeling or illumination, and “Breathe You In” is the kind of hollow romantic wish-fulfillment tune that Nashville’s been cranking out relentlessly for a couple of decades now.
“Diamonds Make Babies” brightens things up with snappy rhymes and witty turns of phrase from co-writers Jim Beavers, Chris Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller that sustain not just momentum but a good sense of humor. The title track is the standout, a song Bentley wrote with Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers about national pride that brings a dimension (“We’re not the same, but that’s what makes us strong”) often absent from contemporary country.
Home may be where the heart is, but Bentley was a lot more compelling when he was poking around up on the ridge.
Two stars (out of four)
— Randy Lewis