When I first heard Dierks Bentley was going to release a bluegrass album, I was expecting a hardcore bluegrass sounding record like Patty Loveless’ Mountain Soul or any Alison Krauss and Union Station record. However, with “Up On the Ridge,” Bentley mixes the bluegrass sounds of the banjo and dobro with a mainstream country drum beat which creates an interesting bluegrass production.
The song’s theme doesn’t deliver anything new or exciting, but rather adds to the long list of songs about country romances. What I find interesting is this season’s songs that deal with the same theme usually have more uptempo and cheery productions, but Bentley’s has a bit of a dark production stemming from Dierks’ vocal performance. He delivers a sort of dark vocal performance that compliments the production.
As is custom on a bluegrass song, Bentley includes an instrumental segment towards the end of the song that showcases the banjo and dobro. Without taking attention away from the traditional bluegrass instruments, a soft fiddle part can be heard in the background and only helps create a mainstream bluegrass sound.
I have to say that though I was let down a tad by this song, I think it was a smart choice for Dierks and producer Jon Randall to create a mainstream bluegrass production because Bentley’s voice doesn’t quite fit the traditional bluegrass sound. Is it one of the best bluegrass songs artistically? No, but it fits Dierks’ artistic leanings. Does it have enough substance to become a huge hit? Maybe, but it depends on if radio can make it fit in between the country-pop sounds of acts like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood. Whether it’s a hit or not, this song adds something interesting, soundwise, to country radio.
To purchase “Up on the Ridge,” click on the image below.