Style: Country meets bluegrass; compare to Nickel Creek, Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakam
Top tracks: "Se—or (Tales of Yankee Power)," "Bad Angel," "Up on the Ridge"
Dierks Bentley has always had one eye on country music's present, one on its past; Modern Day Drifter invoked Merle and Waylon, but Up on the Ridge goes back even further, digging into Bentley's bluegrass and mountain music roots. But an authentic hoedown this is not; the album marries bluegrass instrumentation to contemporary Nashville slickness. The result is his most spirited and daring affair yet, and not just because of the fine songs. Originals like "Bad Angel"—a song about a crisis of conscience—intermingle with covers of Bob Dylan and Buddy & Julie Miller, plus a twangy U2 cover ("Pride") that sounds bizarrely similar to the original.
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