NPR

Dierks Bentley Heads Back To 'The Mountain'

The country star talks about the importance of getting out of Nashville to record his ninth album, The Mountain, which will come out later this year, and why he looks to U2 for inspiration.
Dierks Bentley performs onstage for the Country Rising Benefit Concert in Nashville in November 2017. Source: John Shearer

You're probably used to hearing mainstream country's male stars sing the praises of settled, southern, small-town lives, a sentiment that's suffused songs of Friday night flirtation and gentlemanly affection alike this decade. Arizona-born, arena-headlining singer and songwriter Dierks Bentley has gotten along just fine in this environment by delivering rustic romps even as he allows himself room for artistic exploration. "I'm just trying to find ways to make it meaningful to me," he says during a phone interview on his way to rehearsal. "It's kinda like I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to have a big single that sounds gigantic that you listen to on the surface and love it, but if you're a fan, you dig deeper and go, 'Oh, I see what he's doing.'"

On his upcoming ninth album, , announced today and due out later this year, he pursues themes of questing and self-actualization across a wide-open terrain of arid deserts and rugged ridgelines, cactus flowers and tumbleweeds. While the tracks possess the propulsive power, programmed loops and

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