January 30, 2009
Blake’s recent review of Carrie Underwood’s single, “I Told You So” touched on a simmering issue for me. Underwood clearly has a stellar voice, an appreciation for country music and has acquitted herself very well in the public eye, but (yes, the big BUT) … I truly believe she has not yet tapped into her true potential. I believe it’s there. And as Blake noted, she has shown recent signs of getting there. But it would truly be a shame if she never quite reached the Mt. Everest sized peaks she is capable of attaining.
Dierks Bentley is another one of those artists for me. His rock-country voice has a cool edge and his songs are usually some of the best fare on radio. He also has an undeniable ear for music, a flair for making entertaining videos and a clear appreciation for country music’s history. More than most, I’m always interested to see who he is working with. On his upcoming album, his contributors include Patty Griffin, Rodney Crowell and Ronnie McCoury – all extremely talented artists outside of the mainstream. BUT … I believe he also has a lot of untapped potential. I like Bentley’s music, but I don’t LOVE it. There’s nothing compelling in his catalog that I listen to on repeat or will even be listening to years from now. Although I believe he can be, he’s not yet a great artist or even a particularly memorable one.
As an aside, I won’t be surprised if neither artist reaches their full potential until their radio ride ends, which, selfishly, I hope happens sooner rather than later. The quality of the material from artists who no longer cater to country radio is stunning. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Which country music star do you feel has the most untapped potential?