Dierks Bentley - Black [LP]

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For platinum-selling singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley, it seems the most personal songs are also the ones most universally relatable to his fans. On his eight studio effort, Black, Bentley raises the bar on that idea as he candidly explores the farthest corners of his own heart. "It's a relationship album. And to do it right, I had to dig deep as a writer, dig into the Nashville songwriting community, and record songs that explore the shadows and edges of the heart. The songs on Black range from the lonesomeness of an impossible relationship to ones that describe the feeling of finding that person that makes you forget the one that broke your heart."

Parts of the album are sexy, intimate and tender, some are quick-witted and wild, other pieces are broken, desperate, longing. As a result, some of the songs' messages are not always flattering, but they are inevitably candid. "There's realness to the concept, the songs, the process and the production," says Bentley. "And the title...Black is mysterious and sexy and has an edge that describes the sounds we were going for. A lot of it happens after dark, in the black of night. It's personal too...Black is my wife's maiden name."

Bentley reassembled the Riser production team, including producer Ross Copperman and executive producer Arturo Buenahora Jr., and they collectively embraced the challenge of advancing Bentley's sound while mining his past romantic successes and failures. Recording began cautiously in February 2015, but Bentley allowed the album to simmer for months while he pursued his Sounds of Summer Tour.

He delved in again in the fall, building a project that's both revealing and simultaneously mysterious. Instead of rehashing proven formulas, Bentley has doggedly reinvented his sound on every album and subsequently developed an uncommon mix of commercial success and critical respect. Each of his albums has developed its own identity and/or conceptual theme, be it the classic-country texture of Modern Day Drifter, the bluegrass/Americana bent of Up On The Ridge or the resilience at the core of his last album, 2014's Riser.

2016 Captiol Nashville

8/12/16