By Dustin Shappell

Dierks Bentley is a country star who knows exactly who he is as an artist:  a “traditional” country superstar with 11 number 1 singles who has just released his seventh studio album, Riser.

His new album displays a wide range of emotion to give his fans a stronger sense of his personal life. He’s found that the more personal a song Bentley writes, the more the song relates to his fans’ lives.

(Photo provided by Capitol Records Nashville)

(Photo provided by Capitol Records Nashville)

In the years Bentley spent writing this album, he experienced a roller coaster of emotions with the passing of his father and the birth of his son, Knox. When Bentley’s father passed away, he was in a place of grief, writing songs like “Here On Earth” and “Damn These Dreams.”

From that place of grief, Bentley was able to write his latest Number 1 hit “I Hold On.” The song combines the feeling of heartbreak for his father and adoration of his wife. Bentley ‘Holds On’ to the truck he and his father rode cross-country in to jump-start his career, and reassures his wife that no distance or time on the road can hinder his love for her. “Baby looking at you right now, there ain’t ever been no doubt, without you I’d be nothing / So if you ever worry about me walking out, let me tell you something, I hold on.”

While his lighter songs like “Sideways” and “Am I The Only One” were enjoyable, some may be disappointed that the album only had two upbeat-summer songs. One of those songs being “Drunk on a Plane” which describes a wedding gone wrong and a man forced to take a lonesome honeymoon to Cancun. The man celebrates this tragic occasion by taping his ex’s picture to the seat she would’ve sat in and buying drinks for everyone on the plane.

After touring with Miranda Lambert last year, Bentley hit the road headlining his own Riser tour. This summer tour features the testosterone-fueled lineup of Chris Young, Chase Rice, and Jon Pardi.

“I Hold On”, the lead single off of his new album Riser, Dierks Bentley has a unique ability to connect with his audience and this album certainly opens up a personal side to the singer that fans can appreciate.

→ Dustin Hopman is a Concert Correspondent on KFRG 95.1 FM Riverside & KXFG 92.9 FM Temecula, a station. Jackson Dodd of CBS Riverside contributed to this review.

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