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Dierks Bentley Says ‘Darker’ New Album Will ‘Go Against the Grain’

Dierks Bentley
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Dierks Bentley is about to embark on his second decade of recording country music. With 10 years of experience behind him and a new album due out later this year, Bentley is ready to shake things up a little bit with the release of his next album.

The singer has already finished recording ‘Riser,’ his seventh studio album, and now he’s just waiting for his fans to hear him try out a different sound.

“I didn’t want to cover any ground that I had covered before,” Bentley said at a private listening party on Nashville’s Music Row last week (quote via Billboard).

When the ’5-1-5-0′ hitmaker talks about ground he hasn’t covered, what he means is that this new album is going to be quite a bit moodier than his previous hits.

“I know my dad passed away, but it wasn’t really that,” he explains of his creative direction. “Maybe subconsciously it influenced it, but it kind of opened a new portal in my life to sing a new reality.”

Bentley continues, “A lot of stuff has gone on in culture in general — school shootings and stuff like that. It opened up bigger things to write about, and on songs like ‘Riser’ and ‘Here on Earth,’ it kind of comprises the core of that, but there are tracks like ‘Pretty Girls’ that don’t really fit in the ‘Riser’ theme, but there’s a similar sound that makes it work together.”

Bentley went on to add that he just wanted the album to have a heavier tone, saying, “I think a good country album should have a little bit of it all.”

In addition to literally changing his tune, Bentley chose to work with different producers on this album. Ross Copperman and Arthur Buenhora produced ‘Riser,’ and Bentley turned to other songwriters for some of the tracks.

At the listening party, the country singer shared that he wrote four of the tracks on ‘Riser,’ but he relied more heavily on other people’s work than he has in the past.

“I think in the past, I  thought I was listening for outside songs, but I realize after going through this project that I haven’t,” he reveals. “I wrote with a lot of people, I wrote with Shane McAnally a bunch, but I never wrote anything that beat what he pitched to me. I think it all kind of gelled together.”

From ‘Riser,’ Bentley has already released ‘Bourbon in Kentucky,’ which, with the help of vocals from Kacey Musgraves, is a pretty serious country song about drinking to forget. Musically, ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ is stark, and lyrically, it’s chock full of emotion.

Although Bentley is open about wanting ‘Riser’ to stroke a more serious tone, he’s upbeat and excited about sharing it with his fans this fall.

“I’m really excited about the album. It kind of goes against the grain of what’s working out there right now,” he says. “I’m just trying to make what’s inside of me come out, and if it works or not, I can’t control that.”

Next: See a Picture of Dierks Bentley at the Start of His Career in 2003

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