Picks and Pans Review: Dierks Bentley

updated 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dierks Bentley (Capitol)

Bentley's common country debut is so full of love-gone-wrong laments, like "Whiskey Tears," you'd think the singer was a crotchety old man with five divorces under his belt. But Bentley is only 28 and has never been married. While Bentley wallows in romantic disappointment, at least producer Brett Beavers has provided him with some upbeat arrangements (particularly on the hit single "What Was I Thinkin' ") that better suit his youthful singing style and hearty, John Michael Montgomery-like baritone. Bentley, who cowrote 11 of 13 tracks, could have benefited from covering a George Jones tune like "The Race Is On," which would have fit the theme of this disc while relieving the too-similar tone of the songs. In the end, though, this Bentley stalls on the road to artistic success.

BOTTOM LINE: Routine rookie effort

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