Feel That Fire (Capitol Nashville, 2009)
Reviewed by Rick Cornell
The ballads, which offer the space that Bentley's vocals deserve, are more satisfying as a group. Most notable is Beautiful World, a song clinging to optimisim - in other words, a song true to its time. And, with supporting vocals from Patty Griffin, it's flat-out gorgeous.
Remaining on the chart are two slivers fighting the good fight not to be overshadowed by those two big slices, a skinny pair that represents the album's highlights. Better Believer carries a spiritual message even as its sound battles an identity crisis. It's a ballad that takes sidelong glances at the rockers, ultimately using its thumped-up musical energy more wisely than its busier brethren. As a result, it's the catchiest cut here.
Best of all is that final small slice, Last Call, a fiesty bluegrass number written by and featuring Ronnie McCoury (McCoury originally recorded it on his solo album "Heartbreak Town"), and the "Fire" track probably least likely to get airplay. Last Call is not the best merely because it's the most trad-sounding. It also feels the most natural, and, if the post-song jocularity is any indication, it was the most fun to record. Most importantly, it makes you want to snatch up all the music-biz paperwork you can find and make a bonfire to provide light for the inmates to take over the asylum.
CDs by Dierks Bentley
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