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Album Review | COUNTRY

Dierks Bentley, ‘Riser’

He isn’t as flashy as some of his peers in the contemporary country arena, but Dierks Bentley has built impressive success — 10 number-one songs — on bedrock concepts that feel more quaint all the time: musicianship, emotional integrity, and hard work. Those elements again make themselves known on his stirring seventh album, “Riser.” While Bentley does traffic some in the small-town nostalgia and tip-it-on-back party anthems that are obligatory au courant Nashville currency — and a mainstay of the genre since its inception — he generally employs a less formulaic touch, making songs like “Five” feel like true personal reminiscences, not calculated crowd pleasers. But “Riser” truly soars on the songs that transcend those tropes. The wistful ballad “Say You Do” manages to be simultaneously aching and sexy. “I Hold On” perfectly encapsulates how we imbue objects with sentimental symbolism. The playfully woozy “Drunk on a Plane” tells the story of a jilted groom with humor and heartache. And “Damn These Dreams” is a gorgeous explanation of the joys and heartaches of a working musician with a family. (Out Tuesday)


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