Dierks Bentley has been billed as the Hardest Working Man in Country Music, in part because he's a touring freak. In the early days of his career, he played as many as 300 nights a year, requiring an exhaustive amount of travel. These days, he's cut the number of shows significantly, though he still remains one of the busiest guys in the business, in part because the shows keep his competitive spirit strong.See Also:
"It's like a hockey game, I guess," he told The Jackson Sun in Tennessee. "Like a confidence thing, a fight to win something. I always feel like we walk on stage and we win ... whatever it is that we're trying to win."
Thus far, he's won over enough attention to build a backlog of 10 Top 10 hits, all of which form the basis for his best-of package, Greatest Hits//Every Mile A Memory 2003-2008, set for release May 6. The hits have come because he's made good music, but also because he's paid attention to his fans, no matter where they're located. He got his audience involved in picking some of the graphics and the bonus songs for the forthcoming album, and he's made a conscious effort to reach those fans by playing in some towns that aren't necessarily on everyone else's tour itinerary.
"Sometimes you've got to find places you haven't been before," he said. "Kenny [Chesney] and Keith [Urban] and [Brad] Paisley, all these guys — we're trying to stay out of their way, too. There are lots of small towns where people are equally, if not more, appreciative of the fact that you're passing through their way and not just [playing] the larger venues."
This coming weekend perfectly illustrates Dierks' philosophy. He'll be appearing Thursday in West Lafayette, Ind.; Friday in Normal, Ill.; and Saturday in Rockford, Ill.
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