Bentley has been one of the most popular male country singers over the course of the last decade-and-a-half, and his career has never been hotter than it is right now. With the release of his most recent album, Black, Bentley has extended his artistry into a place that he has never before occupied, both as a writer and a singer.
The album has been a huge success, scoring hits with "Somewhere on a Beach," "Different for Girls" and "Black," and Bentley promoted it with a massive tour all over North America on his What the Hell Tour. The singer got to show off several different facets of his talents both vocally and otherwise on the album, showing off even more maturity than previous efforts. That new artistic growth is just part of the reason Dierks Bentley deserves to win Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards.
Remember: The best way to watch the CMAs is on TV, with ToC on your phone!
'Black' Is His Most Mature Work
Bentley's always been a strong, individualistic singer, but the work he has done on Black underscored his diversity like nothing else he's ever recorded. From a feel-good song like "Somewhere on a Beach" all the way through moody material including "I'll Be the Moon" and "What the Hell Did I Say," and through the philosophical finale of "Can't Be Replaced," Bentley has to trace the emotional arc of a character through many different emotions and seasons of his life and pull them all off with equal aplomb.
There are singers with a bigger vocal range among the nominees for Male Vocalist of the Year, but Bentley has a certain emotional resonance that no other singer in the category can quite emulate. He possesses a moody cool that allows him to present big emotional ideas with the proper power, but in a restrained way and without coming across as sappy.
He Deserves It for Past Years
Bentley has been nominated for Male Vocalist four times in the past, but has never yet won. But he's consistently delivered CMA-worthy performances from the beginning of his career on, spanning every album he's ever released. Bentley isn't the kind of artist who goes out and campaigns and tries to draw maximum attention to himself, and sometimes you just don't stop and think about how many great songs and performances he's really had. Winning Male Vocalist of the Year in 2017 would help celebrate not only his excellent work on Black, but songs from years past that maybe didn't get the recognition they might have.
He's Got the Coolest Voice
There are male singers in country music with more range, power or formal training than Dierks Bentley, but there's nobody with a cooler voice than his. Bentley's voice owns a gruff, no-nonsense sensibility that lends itself to singing a wide diversity of songs well, and the gritty blue-collar edge to his singing gives him an Everyman quality that is an important part of his appeal. There's just no way you could ever mistake Bentley for any other singer in country music.
Bentley has been nominated many times for Male Vocalist, and it's almost becoming like Charlie Brown and the football or Susan Lucci and the Daytime Emmy for Best Actress. This is his year! Come on, CMA Awards ... either give it to him already, or stop making poor Dierks Bentley buy a suit and roll on out to the awards ceremony every year. It's not fair unless Dierks Bentley wins Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards.