No doubt: Dierks Bentley is one of the most famous artists in country music business. Thus, a new album release by the US-American is something special for fans of the genre. They recently looked forward to the release of Gravel & Gold, which has been released on 24th February 2023. Here is my review.
Dierks Bentley – About The Artist
Frederick Dierks Bentley was boirn on 20th November 1975 in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1997 and turned into a professional artist in 2001. Only two years after, he debuted with a self-titled album, which is an RIAA Platinum released and peaked fourth in the US Country Album Charts. Since then, all Dierks Bentley album releases topped these charts -apart from the 2010 Up on the Ridge, which “just” peaked second. Gravel & Gold is Bentley’s tenth album release as a solo artist. His last album release is dated as of June 2018, The Mountain. In the meantime, he also released the album The K is Silent, with the country party / parody band Hot Country Knights. His aritst name in this band has been Douglas Doug Douglasson. Dierks Bentley had numerous chart-topping single releases.
Dierks Bentley – Gravel & Gold – Track by Track
The 14 song album lasts 52 minutes.
1. Same Ol’ Me
Same ol’ me with a hand on a Shiner
Same ol’ me and this old guitar
Same ol’ me on a new jetliner
Crashin’ it in to the same ol’ bar
If the neon’s off if the neon’s on
Same ol’ me playin’ all night long
Yeah, whatcha get is gonna be whatcha see
‘Cause, baby, I’m the same ol’ me
The opener is already setting a certain direction for Gravel & Gold. Especially compared to the Hot Country Knights adventure, Same Ol’ Me feels biographic, mature. Bentley is using a nice range of typical country instruments, so that the sound overall feels surprisingly traditional. Cool track.
2. Sun Sets in Colorado
My heart beats in Tennessee, but my sun sets in Colorado – the song is a beautiful homage on the US state, the Rocky Mountains and life the area. Despite some rather playful parts, the song is spreading a lovely touch of intimacy.
3. Heartbreak Drinking Tour
Apart from songs like the two opening ones, Gravel & Gold holds some typical contemporary country tracks – like this one. A breakup song combined with alcoholic influences – that’s the full stereotype overload. And it leads to a really nice listen.
And had some long necks in Las Vegas
Had some Tucson Tanqueray
Cuervo Gold in Silver City
Sipped some wine in Santa Fe
Girl, it just might take all fifty
Just to get you off my mind
On my heartbreak drinking tour
Gettin’ over you one town at a time
Yeah, one town at a time
4. Something Real
Especially the verses of Something Real strongly remind me of I Hold On. Thus, if you like this Dierks Bentley classic, you might also smile while listening to this fourth song of the 2023 album. Overall, you again feel that Dierks became more emotional with a finer touch in the songwriting and production. Love it.
Regarding emotiions, the album reaches its first climax at Still. Dierks Bentley presents a beautiful, gentle 3:13 minute ballad on the fifth position. A magical listen
6. Beer at My Funeral
At my first listen, this one was clearly my favorite of the whole. The first real summer-party song on the album – the spirit of the song is definitely not that sad as the title might suggest.
They better have cold beer at my funeral
They better play good country music
When they lay me low
They better have cold beer at my funeral
If they don’t, I ain’t gonna go
7. Cowboy Boots (feat. Ashley McBryde)
Dierks Bentley released this lovely collaboration with Ashley McBryde three weeks before the album. Great listen, these two vocals fit perfectly together.
While the three other single releases “just” had roughly one million Spotify streams each, Gold already had about 17 million at the time of album release. The song strongly reminds of the Dierks Bentley classic songs – however, there is that touch of maturity again, which you feel on the whole album. Lovely.
9. Walking Each Other Home
So take the low road, take the high road
Take whatever road you’re on
Sometimes the wrong one leads you right
Sometimes the right one leads you wrong
And the world just keeps on spinnin’
So find a hand for holdin’ on
‘Cause we’re all just walkin’ each other home
The song is one of the best productions in my point of view. Very nicely and precisely added musical elements, which add a certain volume and intensity to the song, but does not destroy the personal touch.
10. Roll On
The 3:06 minute track Roll On might not be the most present one on the album. However, it beautifully illustrates the sensitive songwriting by Dierks Bentley and his team – and how they finally turn the song into a beautiful listen. I like it.
11. All the Right Places
After the rather quiet Roll On, this track works with a bit more guitar power and a more present rhythm. This is sufficient to make you move to the vibes of All the Right Places. The song could be a highlight listen in the 2023 summer festival season.
12. Ain’t All Bad
The twelfth track comes with a rather traditional sound. The steel guitar is very present, for example. The chorus has a lovely touch, so that it more and more moved up on my list of favorites while listening.
13. Old Pickup
Old Pickup is not as quiet and gentle as Still, but I would still name it to be the second country ballad on this album. With elements like instrumental parts with the fiddle, it follows the rather classic country sound of the previous songs.
14. High Note (feat. Billy Strings)
The album closes with High Note, which has already been released as a single. Even though the Spotify statistics don’t give it a really high amount of listeners’ love, I love this cool, guitar-driven collaboration of Bentley and Billy Strings. The song feels a bit of dark, especially in the middle part.
Dierks Bentley – Gravel & Gold – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Dierks Bentley – Gravel & Gold – My View
Is this really the first Dierks Bentley review in the history of Flyctory.com (apart from the Knights…)? To make it short: Dierks did great. I love that change in touch of his music. The album feels very honest and relatable and offers a wide range of songs. Thus, it deserves the Top Pick! banner on top of the posting.
Media Reviews – 2023 USA Country Music
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