Dierks Bentley's new album covers the country music bases

| Thursday, March 17, 2011

Country star Dierks Bentley's new album, scheduled for an August release, "will sound really good with the windows cranked down," he says.

"The louder you play it, the better it sounds," says Bentley, headliner for the Jagermeister Country Tour, which comes Sunday to Stage AE on the North Side.

Bentley's sixth studio album, not yet titled, includes the song "Am I the Only One," which will be released to radio as a single within the next few weeks. Bentley's last album -- the all-acoustic, Grammy-nominated "Up on the Ridge," which came out last June -- had a bluegrass flavor. This new album, he says, returns to mainstream country music, and fans will love it.

The upcoming album "kind of covers all the bases that I love about country music -- (fun) music, love songs, heartbreak songs, and more," Bentley says.

Last month, more than 30,000 fans got to watch Bentley record his album through streaming video. He tracked 15 songs in five days at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, N.C. Fans watched by streaming the live, 24-hour video feed from the studio. Bentley says it was one of the coolest experiences he has had as a musician.

"It was really fun ... to have them be part of that recording process," he says. "It was just a really interactive process."

Bentley headlines the 30-city Jagermeister Country Tour, which kicked off on St. Patrick's Day and will run through mid-May. Other acts include Josh Thompson and Miss Willie Brown.

He grew up mostly in Arizona and still feels a strong connection to it, though he has been in Nashville for 16 years. He moved there when he was just 19, and he couldn't think about anything but a career in country music.

"My skills were pretty green, but I just loved country music," he says. He got a job interning at the Country Music Association, and performed locally, waiting for the big break. It came after several years.

"I'm, like, the poster for what persistence and determination can lead to when you're chasing a dream," Bentley says. "Loving what you do makes it easy.

"You try to make the most of every moment. I put my heart and soul into it," he says. "I want every show I play to be the best show that my fans have ever seen, and I want it to be the best show I've ever done."

Additional Information:

Dierks Bentley

What: Part of the Jagermeister Country Tour

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $42.75

Where: Stage AE, North Side

Details: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com

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