Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (With the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile)
Label: Capitol Nashville
On the surface, this looks like your usual take-me-seriously bluegrass move from a normally sprightly Nashville stud and his gaggle of guest stars. But then you notice the lack of showboating. Bentley brings hookful tunes to support his concept: politically progressive Dylan and U2 covers, plus four originals co-written with Jon Randall that are eloquent enough to pass as standards. Gambling, murder and getting high are recurring themes; in the morose closer, coal miners who should've opted to grow marijuana dig their own graves. Yet somehow, as a whole, the set feels almost upbeat.