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Dierks Bentley

When most people think of country music, they picture beer, women and tractors. Although Dierks Bentley falls victim to some of these country stereotypes with his latest album, Home, he uses them to produce a lively and fun collection of music.

The first single "Am I the Only One" held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Singles Chart, so Home already looks like a success with the country audience, and I would bet Bentley's album will win the hearts of music lovers in general. "Am I the Only One" follows the supposedly sad chronicles of a man desperately longing to hit the town Friday night, only to discover all his buddies are unavailable, leading him to head out on his own. Although most University students might not be able to empathize with Bentley's loneliness, I was still drawn in by the upbeat and happy melody which keeps the song fun rather than melodramatic.

Although the title track "Home" comes dangerously close to a stereotypical country tune preaching about the United States' greatness, the song saves itself by providing an endearing melody. Instead of succumbing to the overbearing and in-your-face lyrics associated with the genre, Bentley inspires genuine patriotism with his understated pride.

No country album would be complete without a warning against the entrapments of marriage. "Diamonds Make Babies" expresses concerns about the real meaning of a diamond ring, cheerfully drawing attention to the seriousness of a proposal. Bentley warns listeners that soon after a wedding there will be children who will make "mamas make daddies make changes they don't always wanna," and he cautions that late nights out will be but a memory.

Still, Bentley clearly has a soft spot for love. "When You Gonna Come Around" presents a charming ballad about an unrealized, bittersweet love. The lovers in the duet have been waiting on one another, neither making a move, trapping them in a hopeless cycle. While the plot is nothing new, the soothing melody makes the track stand out.

"Thinking of You" maintains the cute and appealing love story theme seen in many of Bentley's songs but adds a twist as Bentley seems to be referring to missing his children and wife when on the road. At the end of the track, Bentley's daughter Evie sings a sweet solo of her own short version of the song. Although other artists such as Tim McGraw have featured their children on their albums - sometimes making it feel corny - I found Evie's singing endearing rather than trite.

With plenty of upbeat and happy-go-lucky melodies to satisfy Bentley's current fans, it appears Home will indeed be a success with the country music world. By including a few deeper tracks to resonate with listeners who may not be as fond of typical country music fare, Home might even win over those who are apprehensive to jump on Bentley's increasingly crowded bandwagon