Dierks Bentley at Rosemont Theatre

by Alison Bonaguro
Special to the Tribune

(Published February 22, 2008


Bluegrass isn't just for hillbillies anymore. It's for full-on hipsters who want a little doghouse bass thrown into their playlists. And it suits Dierks Bentley just fine. At Friday night's sold-out show at the Rosemont Theatre, Bentley had what he called the perfect bluegrass band. Just four guys backing him, keeping the instrumentation pure so the high, lonesome sound could come through on "Prodigal Son's Prayer" and "Good Man Like Me." Even when the band put the mandolin and banjo down, it still gave Bentley a genuine country sound (thanks mostly to the unmistakable ambience of the steel guitar work). And that was just the music he needed to fuel his 20-song set.

Opening with pleading ballads such as "Trying to Stop Your Leaving" and honky-tonk rockers such as "Domestic, Light and Cold," Bentley was able to pull off a raucous show at an otherwise restrained theater. Even his gospel-laced and Grammy-nominated "Long Trip Alone" didn't mellow the masses. And in a world in which so many country artists cover R&B and classic-rock tunes, Bentley's encore take on Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" cemented his status as a traditionalist who's standing by his roots.

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