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Dierks Bentley at DTE, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Dierks Bentley has covered a lot of ground in not a lot of time.

It’s been just 15 years since his self-titled major label debut, and during the interim the Arizona native has become one of country music’s biggest stars, with 10 studio albums -- including “The Mountain,” coming on June 8 -- and 15 No. 1 country singles. He’s also won multiple Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards and also hosted the ACM Awards for two years running.

Bentley, 42, has already had enough success to release one greatest hits album, in 2008, and has since amassed enough to put another together. For now, however, he’s spending the year climbing “The Mountain,” which follows three consecutive No. 1 predecessors...

• As with his last few albums, Bentley says he went into “The Mountain” with a clean slate. “I try to go into these albums knowing that I don’t know anything,” he explains by phone. “I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I’m just open, just looking for something. I’m searching. I’m seeking. I’m trying to find something to write about and don’t know what it is. That’s scary; My management team comes out and says, ‘It’s about time to do an album.’ ‘I have no idea what I want to do.’ ‘Well, you better...’ (laughs). Then you just start trying a bunch of stuff and see what sticks.”

• Bentley wrote most of “The Mountain” in Telluride, Colo., with a group of collaborators he dubbed the Telluwriters. “I just felt super-inspired,” he says. “I wanted to do something about the West, and I’m not sure what that even meant. I just wanted to get out there and write. I had a few ideas about life and love, things I was feeling, and it all started to come together. You have to just let it play out and eventually it gets to a place where its’ concrete enough you can start sharing it.”

• For Bentley, the album’s loose theme was inspired by being in the mountains of Colorado and the kind of metaphor it provided for the songs. “In my life, I’m often around fans who are going through all sorts of struggles, climbing mountains. And then I’m out there on a mountain, feeling that release nature brings to me, that recharge. So it’s metaphor for how everyone’s going through some sort of internal struggle their dealing with. I hear stories from my fans talking about determination and what they’re getting past, and what the music and the live show means to them. And it’s the same for me. So a lot of things started tying together and it became a kind of journey I could take people -- like a hike or something, a climb. And the live show becomes the same kind of thing.”

• Bentley says the shows on his Mountain High Tour this year will be very different than what he’s presented before. “The idea of just playing a song, stopping, playing another song, stopping...that’s kind of old school. I like the way DJs do it, where they just keep the music playing all night, one song into another, almost like one long song that’s a bunch of small songs scooped in. That’s what our show is gonna be like. It’s different for us, but really exciting. It feels like taking people on a really good ride, which is what I want.”

• Bentley was happy to sit out hosting duties for this year’s ACM Awards, letting Reba McEntire return to the role. “It was a great show. It was fun to be able to be present and just enjoy the show and see friends you haven’t seen for awhile and be there with my wife. It was like a date night for us; I took her to see (Justin) Timberlake after my performance, so it was a pretty awesome night. And Reba did such a good job. It was an awesome night.”

If You Go:

• 26th annual WYCD 99.5 Hoedown with Dierks Bentley, the Brothers Osborne, Lanco and more

• 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 1.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $94.75 and $74.75 pavilion, $35 lawn with a $59.75 lawn four-pack.

• Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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