GRAVEL & GOLD Bio
There comes a time in any climb up one of Colorado’s famous 14,000 foot peaks when, after a few hours of striving, you pause on a ledge, turn around, and marvel at the vista and the ground you’ve covered. That’s where Dierks Bentley finds himself, 20 years into an exceptional career in 21st century country music. The view is breathtaking for sure, but this is a multi-platinum artist in peak shape, his eyes fixed on the summit.
The 2020 pandemic gave Bentley a moment to breathe and think about his journey to this point and the possibilities for the heights that lay ahead. The break led to a new burst of creativity. With one foot in Nashville and one in his beloved second home of Colorado, he worked harder than he ever had on an album – his landmark tenth, Gravel & Gold.
It’s a diverse, 14-track album – written almost entirely by Dierks with his closest collaborators – about perspective and self-awareness at many levels from the personal to the professional. It’s also a testament to the many strains of country music Bentley has mastered and cultivated in his career, from the arena shaker to the barroom weeper to the bluegrass fireballer. In its opening track “Same Old Me,” Bentley recognizes that midlife demands adjustments and adaptations – as well as nurturing the inner fire of the 18-year-old country music fanatic who first arrived in Nashville in the 1990s. Fifty minutes later, we’re in an intimate circle with Music City’s greatest pickers, trading licks and laughs on a witty song about getting high. It was no easy thing to encompass in one record the values and sounds that have defined Bentley across two decades of hits and millions of touring miles, but he’s pulled it off. The story of Gravel & Gold is one of renewal, family, persistence and devotion to making the music as authentic and lasting as it can possibly be.
“I was in Colorado and I was definitely kind of pushing music away for a little bit,” says Bentley about the limbo of 2020. “I put the guitar in a case, I didn’t even get it out.” Playing outdoors “was just the greatest feeling of all time. I could never get enough bike rides and never get enough skiing and never get enough hikes or walks with my family.” It was the break from touring he (and his colleagues) dream about but dare not take. The home that Bentley, wife Cassidy and their three kids have had in Telluride for the past few years, a relatively modest manifestation of multi-platinum success, went from being a fun getaway to a sanctuary during a tough time for the country. Bentley hails from the West after all, and his passion for its landscapes and its “Rocky Mountain freedom” sparkles on track two of Gravel & Gold, “Sunsets In Colorado.”
Under such ideal circumstances for rest and revitalization, it was just a matter of time before the guitar came back out and songs began to flow, initially on Zoom sessions and visits to Telluride by some country music buddies. Bentley could feel the industry stirring 1,500 miles away, and he hadn’t released a new album since The Mountain in the summer of 2018. “I started doing writer’s retreats and got a bunch of songs. We came back to Nashville and cut 15 songs at the Sound Emporium with my band,” he says. But when he sat with the results, Bentley realized it was not going to be so simple. Take two involved working with an old co-writing friend who shifted to the producer role. They cut five songs and took stock, and Bentley still wasn’t satisfied. The next mix of collaborators hit the target: a combination of Ross Copperman, Red Shippen, Jon Randall and Brett Beavers. Bentley stepped into the producer role for the first time. Some of the songs on Gravel & Gold were recorded three times by the time the process was over, but you only get one chance to make a tenth album. Bentley had never had quite so much freedom to make sure every line, every instrumental part, every vocal harmony, every texture, was up to par.
“All you can do is try to make something that you don’t have any regrets about. You know you put all the time you could into it. It wasn’t rushed. It’s as good as I can make it – as good as we can make it. I can look at it for the rest of my life and be like, yeah, that was harder than I thought it would be, but it worked out.”
After “Same Old Me” and “Sunsets In Colorado” establish key themes close to Bentley’s personal story, “Heartbreak Drinking Tour” calls on country music’s capacity for telling stories of others, and of all of us. In this blue-lit classic that could have been on the radio in any of the past four decades, a guy moves to the west coast for love, and when it comes crashing down, he makes his way homeward, drowning his sorrows and crashing in every town along the way, set to some clever wordplay. “Something Real” reasserts the importance of holding on to integrity and self in a world of pressures, while “Still,” one of Bentley’s favorite tracks, is a spacious and lovely meditation on staying spiritually grounded, largely through the power and freshness of nature, whether the titanic Rockies or the shady trails of Nashville’s parks. “Cowboy Boots” features sharp writing about a timeless but humble subject, while “Beer At My Funeral” gives the album a jab of Roger Miller humor at 21st century arena scale.
“Gold,” the album’s first single, falls in the middle of the project, refreshing its core theme of perspective with a road-trip vibe and wisdom that can only be earned by putting in the years and the work. “They say heaven is somewhere on the other side,” sings Bentley. “But I ain’t waitin’, Hell I’m thinkin’ it’s a state of mind.” A similar gratitude for connection and life’s gentle gifts can be found in “Walking Each Other Home.” And to round out the generous collection, we get “High Note,” a song that taps Bentley’s passion for and experience with bluegrass music, not to mention his friends. The witty track about Colorado’s now-legal intoxicant concludes with a super jam featuring Billy Strings and Jerry Douglas on dobro, Sam Bush on mandolin, Charlie Worsham on guitar along with Bryan Sutton on guitar and banjo.
This final track carries Bentley full circle to his formative years in Nashville. He arrived from his native Phoenix with a hunger for all kinds of country music, a love of classic WSM-AM and the Grand Ole Opry, and a willingness to seek out knowledge and greatness wherever it could be found. So when Bentley first discovered Nashville’s Station Inn, the venerable bluegrass bar in a then decrepit part of downtown, he felt like he found a second home and family. Meanwhile, he filled notebooks with classic country songs and played them at bars downtown well before the Lower Broadway boom. He landed a song publishing deal in 2001 and a record deal followed with Capitol, his career home, two years later. Bentley saw his first single “What Was I Thinkin’” climb to No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. In the remarkable year of 2005, he released his sophomore project Modern Day Drifter, secured the CMA Horizon Award as best new artist and was asked to join the Opry.
In the years since, Bentley has built a vast fan community and performed consistently at the top tiers of his industry without chasing trends or making music that wasn’t satisfying to himself. While other artists came and went, he has cultivated longevity and legacy, with nine albums reaching platinum or gold status, 21 No. 1 hits, three CMA Awards and 14 Grammy Award nominations. He’s launched the annual Seven Peaks Music Festival in Colorado and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row franchise of bars with four locations. He’s also back playing bluegrass at his beloved Station Inn on a regular basis featuring an acoustic version of the road band he’s valued for so many years, plus special guests from the elite of acoustic music. Nobody can say at this point that his professed love for timeless country music and the soul of Nashville was anything but genuine and lifelong.
“Selfishly I’ve always wanted to have my cake and eat it too,” says Bentley. “I’m in the bluegrass space. I’m in the traditional country space. It’s always been important to me to have the love and support of this community in Nashville, particularly the older establishment and the Opry – and to know that I’m part of the scene at the bigger venues, you know? It’s fun to be out there on the big stage and swing for the whole deal and have that as well.”
It’s a track record of versatility and success that’s unmatched in country music in the past 20 years. More gold undoubtedly lies ahead.
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“CAPTIVATING PERFORMER” DIERKS BENTLEY HITS THE ROAD ON GRAVEL & GOLD TOUR WITH SOLD OUT FIRST WEEKEND.
Dierks Bentley unveiled his Gravel & Gold Tour this weekend marking the beginning of summer with sold out amphitheaters in Toronto, ON; Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH. “Playing in front of a huge high-definition screen (seriously, the whiskey barrels and steel beams looked real)” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), his all-new production otherwise was fairly simple, leaving room for music and “night of serious fun.” Tickets for upcoming Gravel & Gold Tour dates can be found at Dierks.com.
“I’ve been working on this tour ever since I started working on the album four years ago,” said Bentley. “My band, crew and I have poured everything into the show, the flow and the production. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible it feels to see it come to life in front of sold out crowds at these iconic venues. This will be the best tour I’ve ever been part of, no doubt.”
For the new tour, “Bentley certainly has the goods to throw a full-on party — 22 No. 1 country hits over the past two decades, along with a well-established reputation for eye-catching stages and a deft touch for blending silly and serious…a night of serious fun” (Oakland Press). Each night included his biggest hits and fan favorites, a stripped down bluegrass set, collaborations with openers Jordan Davis and Molly Tuttle and 90’s covers – all while Bentley “came off as a guy who has a blast onstage” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
Before returning to the road, Bentley will once again host CMA Music Fest in Nashville this week with Elle King and Lainey Wilson, airing July 19th on ABC. On June 26th, he will also host the NHL Awards on TNT, Sportsnet TVA Sports in the US and Canada.
Dierks Bentley recently released his 10th studio album GRAVEL & GOLD.
“CMA FEST,” HOSTED BY DIERKS BENTLEY, ELLE KING AND LAINEY WILSON, TO AIR JULY 19 ON ABC.
Dierks Bentley, along with Elle King and Lainey Wilson, will host this year’s CMA Fest TV special. The three-hour primetime concert special, which is set to film in Nashville this week, will air July 19th beginning at 8pm ET/7pm CT on ABC.
Returning to host the special for the second year in a row, Dierks is looking forward to hangtime with his artist friends and watching incredible performances, but most of all, working with two of the funniest people he knows.
“Hosting the CMA Fest is the ultimate gig. It’s so fun,” says Dierks. “I mean, I’ve hosted some big awards show as well and those are great too, but this is a four-day festival, so I get to be there for four days. And which if I was doing it by myself, it would be great because you get a chance to see all your artist buddies you don’t see very often, hear great music, see the all-stars of the country music fans, people that travel from all over the world to be here and they bring the most energy. It’s the greatest fans to play in front of, BUT I get to co-host this with two of the funniest people I know – Elle King and Lainey Wilson. I mean, yes, talented beyond all talent, both incredible stylists vocally that sound like nobody else, great songwriters. You can list all that stuff. Whatever. Who cares? They’re funny. They’re so fun to be around. They make you laugh the whole time, so it doesn’t even feel like work. It just feels like this is ridiculous that I get the chance to hang out with these girls. So, yeah, we’re hosting the CMA Fest. Last year it was Elle and I; this year we’re bringing on Lainey Wilson…It’s going to be so much fun. I cannot wait. It’s gonna be the greatest CMA Fest of all time.”
The CMA Fest television event will feature never-before-seen performances and surprise collaborations from some of the best in the Country Music format.
Dierks, who recently hit the top of the country charts with “Gold,” just kicked off his Gravel & Gold Tour last week.
Audio / Dierks Bentley talks about hosting this year's CMA Fest with Elle King and Lainey Wilson.Download
Dierks Bentley (hosting CMA Fest 2023) OC: …of all time. 1:01
“Hosting the CMA Fest is the ultimate gig. It’s so fun. I mean, I’ve hosted some big awards show as well and those are great too, but this is a four-day festival, so I get to be there for four days. And which if I was doing it by myself, it would be great because you get a chance to see all your artist buddies you don’t see very often, hear great music, see the all-stars of the country music fans, people that travel from all over the world to be here and they bring the most energy. It’s the greatest fans to play in front of, BUT I get to co-host this with two of the funniest people I know – Elle King and Lainey Wilson. I mean, yes, talented beyond all talent, both incredible stylists vocally that sound like nobody else, great songwriters. You can list all that stuff. Whatever. Who cares? They’re funny. They’re so fun to be around. They make you laugh the whole time, so it doesn’t even feel like work. It just feels like this is ridiculous that I get the chance to hang out with these girls. So, yeah, we’re hosting the CMA Fest. Last year it was Elle and I; this year we’re bringing on Lainey Wilson. It’s gonna be…it’s fun. It’s going to be so much fun. I cannot wait. It’s gonna be the greatest CMA Fest of all time.”
DIERKS BENTLEY TO HOST 2023 NHL AWARDS IN NASHVILLE ON JUNE 26th.
Dierks Bentley will host the 2023 NHL Awards on Monday, June 26, the National Hockey League announced today. The celebration of the League’s best regular-season performances will broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on TNT, Sportsnet and TVA Sports in the U.S. and Canada, at 8pm ET. Tickets to the 2023 NHL Awards are available here.
“Hockey plays a big part of my daily life,” said Bentley. “I’ve been to rinks all over the country with my travel hockey son. I coach his spring league games and spend hours in the local hockey store, telling him, ‘No, you do not need a new stick!’ We love watching YouTube highlight reels, the whole family loves going to Nashville Predators games and watching the Stanley Cup Final together. And, I am a proud member of a beer league team here in Nashville. To get to add NHL Awards host to this list is truly an honor.”
“We can’t wait to celebrate the NHL’s best and brightest with the best of country music in Nashville,” said NHL Chief Content Officer and Senior Executive Vice President Steve Mayer. “Dierks has rocked our stage over the years as a headline performer, and we’re so happy to welcome him as host of this year’s NHL Awards.”
The 2023 NHL Awards will open a week of NHL activities in Nashville. The NHL, in conjunction with the City of Nashville and the Nashville Predators, will stage the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft™, June 28-29, at Bridgestone Arena. Tickets to the 2023 NHL Draft are available for purchase here.
A list of NHL and Predators public activities and events, including red carpet arrivals for the NHL Awards show and the NHL Draft, will be held in the area outside Bridgestone Arena and announced in the coming weeks.
The 2023 NHL Awards broadcast will reveal the winners of 13 regular-season awards in a wide range of categories, including most valuable player (Hart Trophy), outstanding goaltender (Vezina Trophy), outstanding defenseman (Norris Trophy) and outstanding rookie (Calder Trophy); the Ted Lindsay Award, which is presented annually to the “most outstanding player” in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), will also be awarded.
NHL Network™, NHL.com and NHL Social™ will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2023 NHL Awards™. Fans can follow the festivities across the NHL’s social media channels via the official hashtag #NHLAwards.
Dierks Bentley recently released his 10th studio album GRAVEL & GOLD, again “proving why he’s one of Country’s biggest stars” (TODAY) whose unique 21st-century career has had a rare consistency fueled by longevity. He landed his first publishing deal in 2001 and released his debut album in 2003, producing an instant number one single. In the two decades since, Bentley has achieved success with eight more albums that reached the top of the Country sales charts, resulting in 22 number one songs, eight billion streams, three CMA Awards, 14 GRAMMY® nominations and membership into the Grand Ole Opry. This summer, his Gravel & Gold Tour will crisscross North America, launching today in Toronto. Bentley has created professional endeavors outside of the music with his Flag & Anthem lifestyle collection Desert Son, along with his “Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row” franchise hosting four locations. For more information and for a full list of tour dates, visit Dierks.com.
Audio / Dierks Bentley talks about playing hockey and how he excels at the "fourth" period.Download
Dierks Bentley (hockey) OC: …the road. :30
“If you’ve ever played it, like you get done and you lie in the house at night and your ribcage hurts from over-expanding it, ‘cause you breathe so hard, ‘cause you’re having so much fun. You think that you’re dying, but you keep going ‘cause you’re having so much fun. So, literally the bones ache from being like stretched out because you breathe so deeply. It’s just fun, man. It’s just that camaraderie of the guys. One of the periods, I really excel in the fourth period. I do good work in periods one, two and three, but the fourth period… I’m a good team player there. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game. I just love playing it. It’s just totally opposite from the road.”