We’ve noted several times that country heartthrob Dierks Bentley is a serious bluegrass music fan, and that he has been a supporter of the music since long before he hit it big in Nashville. He has appeared on albums by The Grascals and The Infamous Stringdusters, and featured The Grascals on one of his recordings.
Well today comes official word that his next album for Capitol Nashville, Up On The Ridge, will be a bluegrass-themed project, encompassing a variety of acoustic, folk and Americana sounds as well. Instead of an all-star band of session players, Bentley recorded with such stellar ensembles as The Del McCoury Band and Punch Brothers (with Chris Thile), with guest appearances from Sam Bush and Tim O’Brien as well.
The record is being produced by Jon Randall Stewart, whose acoustic/bluegrass chops are beyond reproach, and engineered by Gary Paczosa who has worked on masterpieces with Alison Krauss, Blue Highway, Adam Steffey and the ‘Dusters among others.
For his part, Dierks is looking forward to getting the new CD out, and thinks all of his fans will enjoy it.
“This album won’t come as a surprise to my hard core fans. They’ve asked me: ‘when are you going to make a bluegrass record?’ And I was just waiting for the right time.”
Dierks handles the lead vocals, of course, but has some help from Alison Krauss and Miranda Lambert.
“I didn’t want this to be ‘Dierks Bentley and friends’ or a ‘Dierks does bluegrass’ kind of album. I wanted each song to have something special about it, and in the end I think each song really does have its own thing going on.
It’s my version of bluegrass music. It’s not just banjos cranked up to eleven. It throws out a big net.”
I’ve not had a chance to hear it yet, but friends who have say that it’s a fine record – tasteful and smooth.
Capitol is anticipating a release this summer. Hope there will be some acoustic tour support!