Dierks Bentley

Modern Day Driftere (EMI)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Dierks Bentley

Modern Day Drifter (EMI)

Arizona-born Dierks Bentley had one of the better debut singles in recent memory with 2003's randy "What Was I Thinkin'?" but Modern Day Drifter fails to deliver on that initial promise. Its 11 songs are cookie-cutter Nashville fare about beer and pickup trucks (good) and cheating women (bad), and Bentley lacks the gravitas of Alan Jackson or the nuance of Brad Paisley, both practiced hands at reanimating country cliches. Shiftless ballads "Come a Little Closer" and "Down on Easy Street" sound like George Strait rejects, but the latter is at least good for a laugh when Bentley insists, "The telephone is all I touch when I'm alone." (As a friend said, "Ew.") "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do" is likewise unintentionally funny; it's amazing anyone can deliver lines like "Before you go and turn me on, make sure you can turn me loose" with a straight face. "So So Long" and "Domestic, Light, and Cold" are passable up-tempo shuffles, easy to dance to but completely forgettable otherwise. The Del McCoury Band gooses Bentley through "Good Man Like Me," suggesting he might find better results if he put down the, ahem, telephone and picked up a copy of O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Sunday, 7:45pm, Austin Ventures stage)

**

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