Jason Isbell Accuses Dierks Bentley of Plagiarism

Yesterday evening I was hanging around on the twitter machine (I’m a wild man on a Friday night!) I was watching the usual silliness pass along on the distinguished group of folks that I follow there and then I saw a post from singer/songwriter Jason Isbell that caught my attention:

“Dierks” has officially ripped off my song “In A Razor Town.” Dierks is a douchebag.”

In A Razor Town” is a cut off Jason Isbell’s first solo release ‘Sirens in the Ditch.”

There aren’t many Dierks that I’m aware of in music so my assumption was that he was accusing Nashville Capitol Records recording artist Dierks Bentley. That assumption was confirmed with subsequent tweets as Isbell called Bentley out by his full name and named the title of the allegedly “ripped off” song.

The accused song is “Home,” the title song off Bentley’s 10/10/11 release. Wikipedia states that  “The song was inspired by the Tucson, Arizona shooting that killed six people and critically injured U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011.”

Isbell also accuses Bentley of possibly bringing an idea of his song to co-writer of Home Dan Wilson.

“I bet Dierks brought that idea to the table and Dan ran with it.”

Bentley took to his twitter account to address the accusation:

“@Jasonisbel “I bet Dierks brought that idea to the table and @Danwilsonmusic ran with it.” -HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! that is some funny shit!”

These things are tricky, and I was terrible at spotting copyright infringements in my copyright law class at NYU, but after listening to both songs (below) it’s a pretty amazing coincidence. If Bentley had heard Isbell’s song, and mistakenly brought it to the writers table as his own idea, he needs to listen objectively, fess up and cut Isbell in on the songwriting credits.  That’s what Miranda Lambert did when it was brought to her attention that the title song to her album “Kerosene” was strikingly similar to Steve Earle’s  “I Feel Alright.” Miranda will always be aces in my book for that.

ON EDIT: Ernie over at El Trash has a post striking similarities between Dierks Bentley song “Up on the Ridge” and Matt King’s songs “Hard Luck Road” and “Shanty Town.” there appears to be a pattern forming here.

Jason Isbell – In A Razor Town

Dierks Bentley – Home



Dierks Bentley

23 Replies to “Jason Isbell Accuses Dierks Bentley of Plagiarism”

  1. Has anyone wondered about the similarity between Gillian Welch’s “Scarlet Town” and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”?

  2. Having listened to both a few times, I have to say it’s pretty blatant. Dierks should have a court case on his hands by now.

    I don’t care for Internet Drama, but Bentley’s reaction on Twitter was very much that of a man cornered, deliberately spelling Isbell’s handle incorrectly, so his own fans wouldn’t easily read the accusations, and finally resorting to geographical snobbery to suggest that a Nashville songwriter would never need to steal from a non-Nashville songwriter.

    The reality is that the drones in the songwriting factories who provide material for the limp, commercial mainstream such as Dierks, are under immense pressure to deliver. It’s no surprise that they take shortcuts, and steal from the real talents.

    I only wonder how much of this goes unseen when the victims aren’t as switched on or as stubbornly bloody-minded as Isbell.

    Can’t wait to see Bentley hauled up in court.

  3. Same goes for Lady Antebellum melodically ripping off the 80’s Alan Parsons Project “Eye in The Sky” into “Need You Now”

  4. Lady Antebellum should be hauled into court for so many reasons. 😉

    I wonder if there are are lawyers at Capital sweating things right now.

  5. Pingback: Jason Isbell vs. Dierks Bentley; Miranda Lambert to Appear on SVU; New Music Videos - Engine 145

  6. Seems clear to me. I can imagine that it is unintentional and that DB may not have enough input into the writing process to recognize it… but he needs to admit the obvious. I was never a Miranda Lambert fan, but really respected her for doing the right thing by including Earle as co-writer (without any need for a lawsuit – I have read an interview with Steve saying he never asked for credit.)

    Might be a lawsuit in the making here, though, since Jason tweeted that he can’t talk about it. I must say, though, having read the tweets, he could have handled it better, even if he was pissed.

  7. Clearly… and interesting that since this morning, comments have been disabled on the official video for “Home”!!

  8. After reading about this I had to write a blog myself because it was WAY too similar. A couple of Matt king fans brought it up to me and were really upset last year. I think they told Matt about it but I don’t know what his response was.

    Anyway, Last year I think Dierks may have done the same thing to Matt King. Dierks song “Up on the Ridge” seems to take pieces from both Matt King’s songs “Hard Luck Road” and “Shanty Town” Check out his blog post or mine and you be the judge. It’s just too similar to be ignored.


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  17. Dierks and his crew have been doing this for years…How long will it be until someone speaks up for the TRUE artists that create the music only to have entertainers such as Dierks Bentley come in and “steal” I mean create a song that is very simialr in context, form and sound….Mainstream Pop country shoud die a horrible and overdue death…

  18. You could pull a thousand songs that sound similar. This is so ridiculous and tacky and lame. Those 3 songwriters have no reason to steal from Isbell…if they were going to risk plagiarism, I’d bet there are a couple other places to look first. Dierks always has underground/alt musicians/songwriters do stuff with him – punch brothers, ragweed, del mccoury, will hoge – seems like he’s always helping cool artists out.

  19. Don’t get wrong; that turd in the second video sounds full of lies, but I’d be surprised if there’s any case here. The only straight-ish theft that I heard on a couple of listens is in the chorus, and I don’t think it’s more than three or four measures. Doesn’t it have to be eleven for a case?

    I could have dreamt all of that.

  20. The “big boys” have been stealing from those who are “lower” on the food chain for years. Bentley’s co-writers may have been the ones who stole the melody, or Bentley may have stolen it himself. Either way, Jason deserves some royalties.

  21. Too me the song sounds like one of a hundred other songs that steve earle has written or some other earle wanna be wrote..Like..Chris knight, hayes carle ….If anybody wrote that melody and hook it was S.E. INSPIRED! Plus steve could use the dough!! Love the originality of Mr. EARLE AND Mirandas professionalism!

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