Dierks Bentley performs during day 4 of the CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium on Thursday, June 11, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Amiee Stubbs (Sipa via AP Images).

Every Mile a Memory: Dierks Bentley on Louisiana, touring and his new album

Since his debut album’s release in 2003, country artist Dierks Bentley has released countless hits, from “What Was I Thinkin’” to “Free and Easy” to “Drunk on a Plane.” Now touring following the release of his 10th studio album, Gravel & Gold, Bentley sat down with inRegister just prior to his stop in Lafayette at the end of June.

“Louisiana is such a unique place,” he says. “Everywhere I play is special, but so many places have lost their regional dialect. Louisiana has not.” Bentley is no stranger to the Pelican State, having closed out Bayou Country Superfest in 2016. “I know when I’m playing down there that there are a lot of singers and guitar players that are better than me.” he humbly adds.

But with his most recent return, he says that this stop, and all of the stops he is making across the country, have renewed significance for him. After taking a four-year break, the country music star is back and better than ever.

“I have more appreciation and gratitude for touring than I ever have before,” he says. “Nothing beats walking out on that stage.”

While many artists focused on their music during the pandemic, Bentley caught up on outdoor living in Colorado. Whether he was hiking, biking, skiing, or fishing, he was outside all day long. After twenty years of touring, it was the perfect time to reconnect with nature and himself, refreshing him for his latest release.

“Since this is my 10th album, I really wanted it to stand out,” he says. “I tried to make it a collection of all the different types of country I’ve produced over the years.”

Now back on tour, Bentley says it’s been so fun to be back on the road with his six bandmates.

“We wake up in the morning and have breakfast made for us–and two more times for lunch and dinner–play pickleball, get ready for the show, and then hang out with friends after until the late hours,” he says. “And as a fan of live music, I have so much appreciation for those who come out and see the show. I’ve been really lucky over the years, and every song I sing is one I get to love.”