“Bourbon in Kentucky” by Dierks Bentley

Of all country music’s recent cross-genre flirtations, none of them seem as logical or natural as the big-hearted rock anthem à la U2 or Bruce Springsteen. Dierks Bentley previously hit on the idea for “Home,” a winning patriotic anthem that actually made people of all stripes feel proud.

Dierks’ latest, “Bourbon in Kentucky,” marries that approach to a tried-but-true drinkin’ and cryin’ lyric for something that manages to sound modern without feeling uncomfortably shoehorned in there.

There ain’t enough bourbon in Kentucky for me to forget you, Dierks sings in his aching baritone, over an acoustic strum and echoing, distorted electric guitar. Kacey Musgraves joins him to sing harmony as the music swells, finally igniting when the second chorus hits and the drums kick in.

In addition to Kentucky’s considerable reserves of bourbon, there’s an assortment of other things that won’t remedy loneliness: broken bottles and strangers’ kisses are among the things mentioned. Because anger at being left alone can make you want to do stupid, reckless things in the hopes of momentarily easing the pain.

But Dierks’ character seems like he’s already figured the next bit out—all the booze and fleeting encounters in the world won’t do anything except make him feel worse. 

At a Glance:
Dierks distills a barrel of stadium-ready heartbreak.

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