As a fan, Dierks Bentley has always been one of my favorites. He seems to really care about his fans and the quality of music he releases. This is why “Drunk on a Plane,” a “radio-ready” novelty song, was still miles better than much of what you will find on mainstream radio. Dierks is somewhat underrated in my opinion, but that doesn’t seem to bother him, and he still continues to release great music. His latest single, the title track from his album Riser, only reinforces this; he has chosen quality over airplay once again.
“Riser” is about a man who is strong enough to protect and provide for his woman. He says, “If we ain’t got no money, I can make it,” “I’ll pray until Jesus rolls away the stone,” etc. In short, this is the kind of narrator I can connect with in a song. This is a real person speaking of real love, not some guy trying to get a girl to hook up with him on a tailgate. “An army couldn’t keep down my desire”–that is a classy line, and I don’t hear anything about sugar shakers. It also paints life as it really is–“The hard times put the shine into the diamond, I won’t let that keep us in the ground.” From listening to country radio these days, I would think life didn’t have hard times at all. It sounds like one cornfield party after another, with a “house party” every now and then to mix it up.
As far as instrumentation, it’s a good balance between being radio-friendly and being traditional. I hear beats and steel guitars–who knew you could have balance in this world? Mainstream country artists, take note: this does not sound like Hank Williams, and it is getting a ten from me. Dierks Bentley seems to have figured out how to connect with both sides. This is what happens when you care about your fan base and the quality of your music. “Riser” is the best song on country radio right now; let’s all hope it has a nice long chart run and gives Dierks Bentley another #1 hit.