Purists and pop-country fans love Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley brings his “Sounds of Summer” tour to the Harveys Summer Concert Series on Sunday night, and regardless of what fits your definition of a “summer sound,” chances are he’s going to play it.

Bentley is that rarest of figures in the ever-blending-landscape of today’s country music. He plays enough of the traditional country sounds to be respected by the purists, has a knack for churning out radio-friendly songs for an ever-growing audience of pop-country fans and, perhaps most impressively, refuses to be pigeon-holed by either category — proving it, on occasion, by playing the darndest of cover songs at the most unlikely of times.

Dierks BentleyThus the unpredictability of what promises to be one of the most entertaining nights of summer music in Harveys already-diverse 2015 series.

First things first: Bentley will bring the hits, and 12 years into this, he’s got plenty to choose from. From 2003’s breakout No. 1 single “What Was I Thinkin'” to his 2014 album “Riser,” which included his first two platinum singles (“Drunk On a Plane” and “Say You Do,”) Bentley has enough good-time, beer-drinking party anthems, and ballads, to satisfy even the rowdiest of country-music aficionados.

And then, there’s the bluegrass. Bentley’s highly acclaimed 2010 album “Up On the Ridge” was a big departure from his previous releases, but gained him a lot of new fans thanks to his Americana-ish originals and covers of songs ranging from U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” to, believe it or not, Bob Dylan’s “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power.”) “Pride” is especially striking; Bentley took an anthem from one of the most respected bands in the history of the rock genre and made it sound like it was written to be played on a banjo, mandolin and fiddle.

And … there’s the cover songs. Bentley still averages close to 100 dates on the road per year, and there’s really no way of predicting what surprise he might pull out next. His past setlists include nods to the first two generations of Hank Williams, Billy Idol, the Eagles, the Foo Fighters, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Kid Rock (“All Summer Long,”) Waylon Jennings (“The Dukes of Hazzard”) and even Bon Jovi “Livin’ On a Prayer”) – and each of those past three have been played on this year’s tour.

It’s quite a departure from most artists with such a solid stable of original songs, but that’s Dierks Bentley. To quote another of his most popular songs, it’s just about enough to knock anybody “Sideways” – even in a concert series already dedicated to the many sounds of summer.

  • Dierks Bentley
    Openers: Kip Moore, Maddie & Tae and Canaan Smith
    When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23
    Where: Harveys Outdoor Arena
    Tickets: Floor seats sold out; some bleacher tickets available ($59.50)

About Mike Wolcott

Mike Wolcott is the editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record. His proudest musical moment came when he was scolded by Who bassist John Entwistle for making too much noise at a Roger Daltrey concert. He especially likes classic rock, classic old-time country, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Dylan and all three Hanks. Parsons calls him “Wally.” When he’s not slaying deadlines, you can find Wally playing guitar in a Corning-based cover band called Punches the Clown.

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