There are no two ways around it: Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory seems to arrive a little early in Dierks Bentley's career, appearing in May 2008, just five years after his self-titled debut album. In those five years Bentley released just three albums -- not a lot to build a greatest-hits album on, so the album is pumped up with two pretty good new songs (the smooth midtempo love song "Sweet & Wild" and the peppier "With the Band') and five live tracks chosen by fans (three of them live repeats of songs heard in their studio incarnations earlier on the album), bringing the track total up to a respectable 17 tracks. These are nice bonuses, but the real worth of Every Mile a Memory is the same as any greatest-hits album: it's a place to get all the hits in one tidy package, and this has all of Bentley's charting singles between 2003 and 2008 minus "Domestic, Light and Cold," which scraped the bottom of the country charts in 2005. Taken together, these singles make Bentley out to be more of a straight-ahead balladeer than his proper albums do, but anybody frustrated by this development will already have his three albums. This is for the casual fans -- along with those hardcore fans who helped pick the five live tunes here under the enticement of being listed as executive producers in the album's liner notes -- and for those fans it gets the job done nicely.
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine