A decade into an already acclaimed career, Dierks Bentley hit a high point with 2014’s Riser. The album was a critical and commercial home run, sending three consecutive singles to Number One while rounding up an armful of Grammy, ACM, and CMA Award nominations.
For Bentley — a songwriter who’d spent the past 11 years exploring the heartfelt highs of modern country, the depths of traditional music, the twang of bluegrass and everything in between — Riser was further proof that his fans were happy to follow him wherever he wanted to go. He didn’t have to follow trends; he could challenge them and create his own.
A less-ambitious singer might have enjoyed that limelight a little longer, knowing he could always prolong his success by making a very similar-sounding record. But not Bentley. He wanted to grow, to expand, to break new ground. Besides, Riser wasn’t really a destination; it was just another stop on one of the most interesting journeys in country music.
The journey continues with Black. Bentley calls it “a dark, mysterious, after-hours kind of record,” filled with songs that take a look at the way romance and relationships evolve over time. “It explores some of the darker shadows of love, the edges of the heart, and the things that don’t happen in broad daylight,” he adds. “To me, that’s the more interesting side of love.”
Top Songs: “Riser” “Black” “Somewhere on a Beach” “Different for Girls”
Kip Moore often lies awake in bed at night. Melodies and lyrics swirl through his head. Sometimes they’ll dissipate as seamlessly as they first arrived. Other times, the singer-songwriter can do nothing but begin singing them aloud. It frees his ever-churning mind. It allows him to continually discover his own voice. It grounds him. Most importantly, for a man prone to bouts of self-doubt, it reassures Moore that his path is a righteous one. “I have a complete sense of calm right now,” the singer-songwriter says. “During this whole journey, as down as I’ve gotten at times, I’ve done this thing my way. I don’t have any regrets. I’m always looking ahead.”
The journey Moore speaks to is a monumental one: from that of a struggling Nashville musician to a massive country superstar with his mammoth 2012 debut album Up All Night; and an artistic adventurer with 2015’s sonically bold and critically revered second effort, Wild Ones.
Now Moore is set to release his most unflinching, distinct testimony yet: “I know how strong this record is. I know its capabilities,” Moore says of SLOWHEART, the country star’s evocative and profound third album due on September 8th. The culmination of an ever-evolving talent’s process of self-discovery, the LP is a warm and honest embrace of Moore’s rugged rock roots and a showcase for his innate poetic prowess.
Top Songs: “More Girls Like You” “Dirt Road” “Somethin’ Bout a Truck”