Dierks Bentley is looking forward to Wednesday's CMA Awards, where he is nominated in three categories, including Male Vocalist of the Year, Musical Event of the Year with Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson for 'Bad Angel,' and Album of the Year for his bluegrass-tinged offering, 'Up on the Ridge.' These mark his first nominations since 2007 when his CD, 'Long Trip Alone,' grabbed a nod for Album of the Year.

When the Arizona native first hit Music City at the age of 19, he would go to the Station Inn every week to listen to bluegrass music and would closely study the musicians' every lick and note. He put those lessons learned to good use on his current album -- one he always wanted to make, but never thought it would garner the rave reviews and open as many doors as it has since its release in June.

"When I went in to make the record, I put away all my expectations for any sort of [awards or accolades], country radio airplay, anything. I went into it with no expectations," Dierks tells The Boot. "That's what freed me up to make the kind of record we wanted to make. So, the back side of that to have country radio play the song, see the video on CMT and GAC, and then to be recognized by the CMA for making a record that leans on the bluegrass side of things, there's not a lot of words for it. I'm still taking it all in, and the Album of the Year [nomination], I'll be enjoying that right up until the moment they announce Miranda Lambert's name. [laughs]."

Miranda's 'Revolution' is also up for Album of the Year, along with Carrie Underwood's 'Play On,' Lady Antebellum's 'Need You Now' and George Strait's 'Twang.'

"That's the main thing for me -- Album of the Year -- because every record, I go in there hoping to make a record that is recognized by folks for the songwriting and the production, but this one was special," adds Dierks, who took home the CMA Horizon Award in 2005. "I knew that when we started working on it. I'm elated, and I just feel real happy for the small group of people who believed in it in the very beginning and encouraged me to make it."

Dierks is scheduled to perform on the '44th Annual CMA Awards,' which will be broadcast live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, November 10 [8:00 - 11:00 PM ET] on ABC.