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Music / Dierks Bentley

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Country Music singer Frederick Dierks Bentley quickly made a name for himself in 2003 when he sent his debut single "What Was I Thinkin'" to #1 on the country charts. What followed is a mainstream country career with a bit more traditional leanings than most. Although his name is maybe not the most recognizable outside the genre, he has maintained a steady following and a solid streak of hits.

Bentley's material also includes a vast number of collaborations: bluegrass musicians Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, and The Grascals; less mainstream but critically-acclaimed country singers such as Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, and Brothers Osborne; and even a #1 duet with Elle King.

In 2020, Bentley founded a Fake Band called Hot Country Knights, which features his road band in fictitious 1990s personaes.


  • Dierks Bentley (2003)
  • Modern Day Drifter (2005)
  • Long Trip Alone (2006)
  • Greatest Hits/Every Mile a Memory 2003–2008 (2008)
  • Feel That Fire (2009)
  • Up on the Ridge (2010)
  • Home (2012)
  • Riser (2014)
  • Black (2016)
  • The Mountain (2018)
  • The K Is Silent (as Hot Country Knights) (2020)

Tropes present:

  • Bowdlerize:
    • "Kiss my ass" becomes "Kiss my… yeah, you know what I was gonna say" on the radio edit of "Drunk on a Plane".
    • "Different for Girls" changes the line "gotta get laid" to "gotta get some".
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: The girl's father in "What Was I Thinkin'". When he catches his daughter sneaking out and getting in the narrator's truck, he runs out with a shotgun and fires at the tailgate as they drive off.
  • Break-Up Song:
    • "Settle for a Slowdown". She's leaving him in her car. He says, "I'm not asking you to turn back around / But I'd settle for a slowdown."
    • "Somewhere on a Beach" has him happy that the relationship is over, because he's partying on a beach with a new girl, and isn't even thinking about his ex anymore.
    • "Say You Do" is about a broken-up man asking his former lover to lie to him for a while.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: The two singles off Up on the Ridge were his first singles since his first album not to make Top 10 on the country charts. After that, "Bourbon in Kentucky", the lead single to Riser, became his first to miss the top 40 due to radio programmers not wanting to play a melancholy ballad in the summer.
  • Cain and Abel: Alluded to in "Burning Man", where the narrator uses various Cain and Abel-esque comparisons to describe himself ("I'm a little bit holy water but still a little bit Burning Man").
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: implied in "What Was I Thinkin'" when the girl's father shoots at the singer's truck when he picks her up.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The narrator in "What Was I Thinkin'" repeatedly asks himself the titular question about his crazy night out with a girl. His conclusion: "I was thinkin' 'bout a little white tank top sittin' right there in the middle by me..."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "Bourbon in Kentucky" and "Drunk on a Plane".
  • Dual-Meaning Chorus: The title of "I Hold On" applies to both material objects that he never gives up on (his truck and guitar) and a woman whom he vows to stay true to forever.
  • Fake Band: His 2020 novelty project "Hot Country Knights", created as a tribute to 1990s country, portrays itself as a band from that decade.
  • In the Style of: "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do" is clearly in the style of Waylon Jennings.
  • Intercourse with You: "Come a Little Closer", "I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes", and "Black".
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Jim Beavers, co-writer of "How Am I Doin'" (and brother of songwriter-producer Brett Beavers), credited himself as "Writer X" on the song.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: "5-1-5-0". The title references the "psychiatric hold" code in California mental health care.
  • Lust Makes You Dumb: "What Was I Thinkin'?" whose chorus ends "I know what I was feelin'/But what was I thinkin'?" after getting into all sorts of trouble because he was thinking about what he could do with his cute date.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • For a party song, "Am I the Only One" is rather… lethargic sounding.
    • "Drunk on a Plane" is also rather melancholy for a song that initially sounds like a partying song, but is really about a guy who is drowning his sorrows after being forced to fly to Cancún by himself because he couldn't refund his lover's ticket after she ditched him.
  • New Sound Album: Up on the Ridge was not only a radical departure into bluegrass, but also his first one not produced by Brett Beavers. (It was produced by Jon Randall instead.) He returned to Beavers for Home, but then switched to Ross Copperman for Riser (with Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three co-producing "Back Porch") and Black. Randall returned to co-produce with Copperman on The Mountain.
  • Past In The Rearview Mirror: The first verse of "Settle for a Slowdown."
  • Precious Puppy: His dog Jake, pictured on his debut album, was a constant companion until dying in 2016.
  • Rhyming with Itself: The last verse of "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)" rhymes "go" with the title.
  • Sexy Stewardess: From "Drunk On A Plane":
    Stewardess is somethin' sexy
    Leanin' pourin' Coke and whiskey
    Told her about my condition
  • Shout-Out:
  • Song Style Shift: "How Am I Doin'" has a slower intro ("It's strange to hear your voice / I did not expect for you to call…") before launching into the more upbeat actual song. This part is sometimes cut out depending on the station.
  • Studio Chatter:
    • At the end of "How Am I Doin'", a musician says "You feelin' better, big guy?" and Dierks responds, "Uh, not really, dude."
    • "Train Travelin" ends with Dierks and the Del McCoury Band laughing about the song.