Song: Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)
Album: Up On the Ridge
Performer: Dierks Bentley with the Punch Brothers ft. Chris Thile
Writer: Bob Dylan
I wasn’t too familiar with Dierks Bentley before coming to Nashville. To be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with many mainstream country music artists at all before moving to this city. But I was delighted to find that Dierks has embraced bluegrass music along with country music, often integrating at least one bluegrass song into his albums.
Up On the Ridge is a bluegrass album that Dierks Bentley recorded in 2010. Perhaps it could be argued that some of the songs stand more at a crossroads between mainstream country and bluegrass music, but it’s all great. This is a wonderful imagining of Bob Dylan’s “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)” which Dierks teamed up with the powerhouse bluegrass band the Punch Brothers to record.
The song features an impeccable Punch Brothers arrangement with great solos from Thile and Pikelny. Both Dierks and Chris Thile sing throughout the song. Both of their voices are very unique and bring character and life to the lyrics. Thile’s voice is higher than Dierks and often takes a high harmony part.
This song is compelling to me. I always imagine a man taking a journey through the desert and this song is his conversation with a man guiding him on that journey. It’s unclear to me if the song is relaying real flashbacks in this man’s life or if it is all simply a mirage. It almost feels to me like the narrator might be suffering from heatstroke and experiencing illusive and non-sensical visions.
This recording is impeccable music facilitating engaging lyricism (honestly that’s what all of my favorite Dylan covers are.)