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Dierks Bentley (Feat. Kacey Musgraves), ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ – Song Review

Bourbon in Kentucky
Capitol Nashville

Dierks Bentley breaks from his longtime producer Brett Beavers to record his new single ‘Bourbon in Kentucky.’ Sonically, the song is more experimental than anything the Batman and Robin duo put together. Beavers and Bentley’s best work shook like a rattlesnake or pierced deep into the veins with a heartbreaking poison capable of inducing painful flashbacks of past relationships. Few have been as successful over the past decade.

Ross Copperman’s attempt casts visions of a mad scientist, toying with knobs and steel guitars until he finds just the right formula to mix with Bentley’s baritone. It’s experimental and, at times, uncomfortable, but it’s the sort of discomfort that could soon lead to a new appreciation. Lyrically, ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ breaks no new ground, but the atmosphere created in studio is like nothing released to country radio before.

The song opens with a warning shot in the way of an ambient electric guitar chord and spacey whistle, while a familiar acoustic keeps one grounded — barely. Bentley’s voice begins the song with more purity and resonance than ever.

There ain’t enough / Bourbon in Kentucky / For me to forget you,” he sings before being joined by Kacey Musgraves. “No there ain’t enough / Matches I can strike / To set afire the memory of you.”

Neither Bentley nor Musgraves will ever be praised as powerful vocalists, but both are wonderful storytellers who are capable of revealing their soul to make a song memorable. One craves a little more from the ‘Blowin’ Smoke’ singer here. Her appearance is but an appetizer.

There ain’t enough kisses from a stranger / On a long wild night to ever make it alright if it ain’t you / In my arms, in my bed / To hell with all the rest once you’ve had the best nothing else will do / What’s the use,” Bentley sings during the second verse.

Lyrically, Ryan Tyndell, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson have written a fairly straight-forward country weeper. “With my mouth wide open / In a whiskey rain / I could stand there 24 hours a day,” Bentley sings at the bridge. It’s the producer’s vision that makes the song unique. Electronics sing from the left speaker, a warbling guitar wails from the right. Ambient guitars drone throughout most of the track until Bentley pulls it all back to deliver a vulnerable final chorus.

Critics and musicians tend to love songs like ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ because they break new ground. The risk is that fans raised on a more mainstream country will remain ambivalent. That could happen here, as one really needs to search to find the emotional hooks. Bentley seems comfortable (or just comfortable enough) taking that risk.

4 Stars

Dierks Bentley (Feat. Kacey Musgraves), ‘Bourbon in Kentucky’ 

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Next: See Dierks Bentley at the Start of His Career

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