Dierks Bentley: Feel That Fire

It’s no secret that most of the music coming out of Nashville’s Music Row is based on formula – a lot of the same songwriters and producers are making the records and making it difficult to distinguish one artist from another. You might see Brad Paisley or Kenny Chesney or Billy Currington on TV or walking down the street in Nashville and immediately know who they are, but that doesn’t mean the casual fan can pick their voice out on the radio. That’s because Nashville has auto-tuned everyone into sounding the same – the same vocal tone, same twang, and in most cases, the same freaking songs. Dierks Bentley falls into that category, and on his latest, and fourth album, Feel That Fire, Bentley has co-written a bland bunch of songs that he seems to almost be going through the motions with. Tracks like “Sideways” and “Little Heartwrecker” will make you tap your feet but you’re not going to remember them five minutes afterward. A pretty duet with Patty Griffin, “Beautiful World,” almost saves the album, but while the likes of “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” and “I Can’t Forget Her” are pleasant enough, there are literally thousands of better songs in this formulaic genre alone. Country music surely isn’t going to make any new fans this way. (LABEL: Capitol Nashville)

Dierks Bentley MySpace Page

  

Billy Currington: Little Bit of Everything

The premise of Billy Currington’s latest, Little Bit of Everything, is supposed to symbolize the singer and songwriter’s many musical influences, which include hints of R&B and classic rock. Well, okay, but at the end of the day this is a country record through and through. Currington is a very good songwriter, and one of those rare Nashville acts who began as a writer and rode that talent to a record deal. But as a singer, he’s pretty average and sounds like every Tom, Dick, Chesney and Paisley. But let’s face it – the people buying country music records don’t care about the vocals delivering them. They only care about the songs, and Currington has some good ones. The standouts here are the opening warm weather anthem “Swimmin’ in Sunshine,” the absolutely stunning ballad “Walk On,” and the Jimmy Buffet-flavored “I Shall Return.” And while some of these tracks border on mediocre, Currington is for the most part better than his peers. Maybe that’s because his Georgia roots make it all seem so natural, or maybe it’s because he’s just that talented. (Mercury)

Billy Currington MySpace Page

  

Now That’s What I Call Country

Aside from the pop/punk genre, there really isn’t a more tired style of music than “new country,” a.k.a. the kind of country music that is coming out of Nashville’s Music Row these days, which is more like classic pop with steel guitars, and lyrics that try to make you remember your youth or complain about your lot in life today. This is opposed to the country music of your parents and grandparents, which wasn’t nearly as forced or made to fit into a pattern musically or lyrically. So anyone with a musical brain is likely going to be insulted if someone tries to convince them to like this stuff. Enter Now That’s What I Call Country, a compilation of some of the biggest chart-toppers of the past year or so. For fans of new country, it’s not really any different than what’s been beaten to death on your favorite radio station. For the rest of us, it’s mostly the same bland fare that gives us headaches—the nasally Carrie Underwood (“All-American Girl”), Lady Antebellum’s “Love Don’t Live Here;” a song with the same chord progression and melody as about 300 other songs you’ve heard in this genre alone. Ditto for Brad Paisley’s “Letter To Me” and Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink” — seriously, in any other genre those two guys would be bagging groceries. We’d be remiss, of course, if we didn’t point out some of the bright spots here, such as Keith Urban, who actually makes his songs compelling on “Everybody” (maybe it’s because he can actually sing); and George Strait’s “I Saw God Today,” a stunning number about the beauty of becoming a father that any parent can relate to. At some point, someone is going to step in and shake this genre up, but not until advertisers stop ruling terrestrial radio. (LABEL: UMG Recordings)

Website

  

Related Posts