Dierks Bentley‘s Hot Country Knights Sign Major Label Deal
Douglas “Doug” Douglason, bass player Trevor Travis, guitarist Marty Ray (“Rayro”) Roburn, keytarist/fiddle player Terotej (“Terry”) Dvoraczekynski, steel guitar player Barry Van Ricky and percussionist Monte Montgomery are now all major label artists—these of course being the principle members of 90’s throwback band Hot Country Knights, which if you’ve been living under a rock since the Clinton Administration, is the alter ego of Dierks Bentley and his touring band.
Without breaking character, the band waltzed inside the offices of Universal Music Group Nashville earlier this week, and signed a deal with UMG Nashville President Cindy Mabe, and UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO Mike Dungan to release a new album. First debuted at the Country Radio Seminar in 2015, Douglas Douglason and Hot Country Knights specialize in cover songs from folks like Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, and Tracy Lawrence. They’ve made random appearances at Dierks Bentley’s shows, as well as his Colorado-based festival. Whether the new album will be covers, or 90’s inspired country, complete parody or something serious mixed in, we’ll just have to see.
Watching Hot Country Knights crash the UMG offices is pretty funny (see below), including UMG Nashville CEO Mike Dungan shouting out, “Let’s take back country music!” But the press release copy paralleling the announcement is a pretty big hoot too. “The Knights are promising to bring real ’90s country music back to a format that’s been drowning in male sensitivity, cashmere cardigan sweaters and programmed drum loops,” reads a portion of the press release—funny because it’s also patently true.
Douglas (“Doug”) Douglason quoted later in the press release as saying, “Some artists out there tried to put the ‘O’ back in country, that was a thing for a while…. but what it’s really missing is the ‘T.’ Country music has Low-T right now…it could use a pick me up, if you know what I mean. Those record label people over at Universal finally realized that only the Knights could be up to a task this big and hard.”
Okay, we probably could have done without those visuals, but if nothing else, it proves Dierks Bentley is committed to the bit. It also proves that when he wants to be, Dierks Bentley can be one of the most entertaining, and down-to-earth folks in the mainstream. Talk about male sensitivity and programmed drum loops, that pretty much sums up his 2016 album Black. But the release of his 2010 bluegrass-inspired album Up On The Ridge, and even 2018’s The Mountain, Dierks proved he takes his love for country music to heart, even if he’s not always allowed to express it.
In all seriousness, 90’s country is pretty hot right now, and a hell of a lot better than the modern mainstream alternative. Whether a silly album of covers, or some cool original songs done in the style of 90’s country, or both, the major label debut of Douglas Douglason and Hot Country Knights is something to look forward to in 2020.
January 3, 2020 @ 10:25 am
they’ll never be the parody that dan and shay , sam hunt , luke bryan , aldone and fgl are .
but at least they are admitting to BEING a parody .
January 4, 2020 @ 10:17 am
I agree Albert. Inmo. This is not that funny and I love funny. A little blip as they all play along but things will go back to the way things are. I saw a grad head sticker on Cadillac…. you can’t go back you can never go back. Still great artists doing their thing on a smaller scale and some with a great fan base that support them.
January 4, 2020 @ 10:18 am
I meant dead head sticker. SCheck
January 3, 2020 @ 10:30 am
If they really wanted to relive the 90s, they would be signing with Curb and releasing twelve Greatest Hits albums before their debut single drops!
January 3, 2020 @ 10:43 am
Howl-la-looya! (screw you Mike)
January 3, 2020 @ 11:09 am
Maybe Hot Country Knights should open for Spinal Tap
January 3, 2020 @ 11:43 am
Opening for rock legend Chris Gaines
January 3, 2020 @ 9:01 pm
Two Thumbs Up for that one, Thass!!!
January 5, 2020 @ 5:34 pm
A Chris Gaines / Hot Country Knights tour NEEDS TO HAPPEN!
Billy Wayne Ruddick
January 3, 2020 @ 12:00 pm
Isn’t the only thing that is “90’s throwback” about these tools the way they dress? Not sure why wearing fanny packs and limited other articles of “90’s clothes” (note that some of these d bags are dressed more in-line with 80’s hair band fashion) and then calling it 90’s country is that funny. Tyler Childers’ record deal parody video from 18 months ago is much better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsAJYTLaI14
Billy Wayne Ruddick
January 3, 2020 @ 12:22 pm
For clarity, yes I know they have played 90’s country covers in the past. I just find it hard to believe that a band that has put out such garbage as “Somewhere on a Beach” has any ability to put out a respectable album of 90’s country music (off-base costumes or not) in any other capacity than purposefully mocking the genre….similar to how the press release and video mocked the need to “take country back”. If I’m wrong this could be an interesting novelty project, but I won’t hold my breath on that one…
January 3, 2020 @ 1:14 pm
I don’t expect anything about this album to be “respectable.” I think they’re just farting around here. I also am not worried they’re mocking country, because of course they are, just like Hee-Haw, Wheeler Walker Jr., and others. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. And most certainly Dierks has put out some piss poor singles and I’ve called him out for it personally. But he’s also put out some pretty good stuff. This is a passion project for him, and it may fall flat completely. But I personally am interested to see what he has in store.
January 5, 2020 @ 6:01 pm
This is a mixture of Steel Panther (PG Version) and Lester Roadhog Moran. Not sure how it will come off on an album but is pure gold live. I think you hit the nail on the head when you called it his passion project. Nobody was asking for this to exist and most (sadly) won’t get it. Lighten up and enjoy the comedy!
January 3, 2020 @ 12:53 pm
Haha. Dierks Bentley is more country than you. FACT. HAHA
January 3, 2020 @ 1:09 pm
Anything that keeps Dierks from making “Black 2” is fine by me. (And the hipster clothes.) I have been with DB since the first single.
January 3, 2020 @ 1:12 pm
Love the belly shirt
January 3, 2020 @ 1:31 pm
Darn straight that’s hilarious. I agree with The Spinal Tap of Country. Have a sense of humour folks.
January 3, 2020 @ 1:51 pm
That’s Country….with a K
January 3, 2020 @ 4:03 pm
What Midland could have been.
January 3, 2020 @ 5:21 pm
Dierks May have some “non country” missteps along the way but you have to respect the guy. Dierks is Dierks. And country music is better off with guys like him. Hot country knights is hilarious.
January 4, 2020 @ 3:20 am
Cameron, I saw them with Dierks this past summer at KeyBank Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA. Everybody in the crowd was wondering who these guys were but they were so funny but nobody seemed to care. These guys come out and they looked completely out of place and they are bragging about how today’s country music is mediocre and they’re aiming to change things and whatnot. And then two days later I Google them and find out it’s Dierks and his band. I I love a good joke. And I’m anxious to hear what these guys have to offer because I think it’s going to be worthwhile. While it may not be in the cards for HCK, it would be great for them to do some sort of little 4000 to 6000 seat concert venue tour and just have fun with it.
January 3, 2020 @ 5:43 pm
The great old Bluegrass band ‘Hot Rize’ (Tim O’Brien, Charles Sawtelle, Pete Wernick and Nick Forster) used to take a break part way through their shows and return to the stage as their alter-ego Western Swing group ‘Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers’ (Red Knuckles,Waldo Otto, Wendell Mercantile, and Slade) decked out in Nudie suits, dark sunglasses and big ‘ol cowboy hats. The crowd loved it. After Mr Sawtelle passed away Bryan Sutton joined up and performed as ‘Swade’. Lots of good video on YT of all configurations of the band(s). I guess what I’m getting at is its pretty cool that alot of musicians over the years have proven they are up for a little fun for the fans and themselves
January 4, 2020 @ 3:11 am
Dan, have you ever heard of the funk group ‘Here Come The Mummies’??? From what I’ve read, they are a group of musicians who, because of the legalities of being with different record companies, have disguised themselves as mummies in order to record and perform together. I don’t know how true that all is but it sure makes for a good story. If you haven’t heard of them and are into that kind of music, I think they are definitely worth a look and a listen.
A. Michael Uhlmann
January 4, 2020 @ 7:06 am
I wanted to comment on this, mentioning Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers, which I saw in 1984 at the Bluegrass Festival in Toulouse, France. Parody and humor always had a big place in country music. Brothers Burns aka RUN C&W (with Russell Smith from the Amazing Rhythm Aces and Bernie Leadon from the Eagles) is another great example.
And sometimes it would just be a song being included on an album like “It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long” by the Notorious Cherry Bombs (among others Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell).
So all the best to Doug & The Hot Country Knights.
January 3, 2020 @ 6:10 pm
Still more country than new Zac Brown
jessie with the long hair
January 3, 2020 @ 8:01 pm
There’s nothing funny about this. This is just stupid. No one cares.
January 4, 2020 @ 3:37 pm
And you speak for everyone because…?
jessie with the long hair
January 4, 2020 @ 3:58 pm
Not speaking for everyone. I don’t think they are funny. It’s low hanging fruit to put on wigs and act like assholes. It’s just a gimmick.
January 4, 2020 @ 3:46 pm
Oh, it’s funny alright.
I’d travel 2 or 3 states to see the “Country Knights”.
Light-hearted, & i’m betting they are going to put something kick-a**, out there
January 4, 2020 @ 3:14 am
Trigger, you are absolutely correct. If you can’t make fun of yourself, then who can you make fun of??? I can’t wait to hear what these guys have to offer. Because I care.
January 4, 2020 @ 8:47 am
Hope the music is better than the video, though I’m not sure that’s possible.
January 4, 2020 @ 7:54 pm
Here Come the Mummies are badass funk!
Keepin it Country
January 4, 2020 @ 11:39 pm
Watch these guys become the 90’s version of midland. Still more talented than what Trashville has to offer.
January 7, 2020 @ 7:47 am
What are we saying here–that the only way this guy can play good music is to play dress up? This guy already has a contract–why doesn’t he produce good music on that contract and then UMG can sign another band to make good music on a contract?
And the Chris Gaines project is something that all of a sudden is being held up as a favorable comparison??
Plus, are we really saying that Hee Haw was a mockery???
Wait, wait–If this band is a parody, then this reaction to it must be parody as well. That would explain it. That happens sometimes–I don’t always catch on so quick! Back to Bizarro Saving Country Music.
Hopefully the contract is a parody too.
On a lighter note, I believe what I saw on Circle this morning was the episode of Hee Haw where Roy first flubbed the ending to Cripple Creek. I had always wondered where/why that got started. Pretty cool.