Dierks Bentley gave attendees of the Americana Music Festival in Nashville a treat last week, performing a surprise show at the Cannery Ballroom with some of the lauded musicians who appear on his new album, 'Up On The Ridge.' With producer Jon Randall Stewart and Sam Bush on hand to help recreate the magic, Dierks rolled effortlessly through many of the tunes from his new CD, including the rollickingly fun 'Fiddlin' Around,' the Kris Kristofferson cover 'Bottle to the Bottom,' 'Fallin' for You,' and plenty of others.

"The Stringdusters must've left this here for me as a joke," said Dierks, laughing, referring to a water bottle left behind by his buddies the Infamous Stringdusters, who performed right before him. He promptly picked up the bottle from the stage and quickly replaced it with something a lot stronger in a Dixie cup, toasting the crowd as he launched into a few more tunes from his CMA-nominated 'Ridge' album.

"The song I wanna do next has gotten some recognition and we made a video for it, and a lot of people like it and that's a good thing," admitted Dierks as he introduced 'Bad Angel,' the track he recorded with Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert. "But the problem is these two people I recorded the song with, I'm never gonna get in the same room! One's probably at a bar in Texas and the other one's probably down at the Stadium Club here in Nashville or something, I don't know. But this is one of my favorite songs on the album, so here we go."

Calling out Bryan Simpson from Cadillac Sky to help on the Tim O'Brien parts, Dierks then offered up a rousing version of the reworked Bob Dylan tune, 'Senor,' and 'You're Dead To Me,' a song he wrote with O'Brien, before dusting off a cut from his 'Modern Day Drifter' album, 'Good Things Happen,' which he sweetly dedicated to wife Cassidy. Things amped up sonically even further when the incomparable Sam Bush took the stage for a duet on 'Gold Heart Locket', the song he and Dierks performed together for a flood relief benefit at the Ryman Auditorium just months earlier.

In a popular nod to Americana favorite Buddy Miller, Dierks performed 'Where Love Grows Wild,' the Buddy-penned tune from the 'Ridge' project, and couldn't hide his joy as he, Sam, and the rest of the band closed out the show with 'Rovin' Gambler' and the title track that started this odyssey, 'Up On the Ridge.' "This whole section of town below the freeway starting up at the Station Inn on 12th Avenue means a lot to me ... It's where I used to spend a lot of time listening to great bands. And this is kind of the song that got things started for this record," Dierks said, as he and the band smoked through the swampy title tune. He left the 'Ridge' for another familiar path as he closed out the stellar set with the appropriate, 'Free and Easy Down the Road I Go,' then headed out as a fan again to watch some of the music that first inspired him all those years ago and has fueled his career ever since.

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