Dierks Bentley is an avid hockey fan, so needless to say he was thrilled when he heard his latest single, 'Am I the Only One,' being played during the recent NHL (National Hockey League) playoffs.

"I didn't even push that song to be part of NHL, it just happened," Dierks tells The Boot. "The first I knew about it was when I was watching the playoffs and the song came on. Next thing I know, my friends are texting me about seeing it, too."

Dierks, who plays in a recreational league in Nashville dubbed the Iceholes, is also a NASCAR fan, but hasn't taken to the track to drive the race cars, at least not in competition. That hasn't stopped NASCAR and FOX from using his song, 'Sideways,' in televised racing events this year. Dierks has other ties with racing, including narrating the 2009 DVD 'The Rise of Kahne,' a look at the life of race car driver Kasey Kahne.

"Hockey and NASCAR are two of my favorite things to watch on TV so it's a pretty cool thing for me for this to happen," Dierks says.

'Am I the Only One' is just a sample from his upcoming, as-yet-untitled album. One thing is certain, the singer-songwriter says it'll be hard to beat his most recent Grammy-winning CD, 'Up on the Ridge.'

"That one will always be a personally definitive record in my career. It really was pure; there was nothing about that record had anything commercial to do with it. I was lucky enough that my fans really dug it, and lot of folks in the music community liked it as well."

Dierks has written about 60 songs for the new project and has listened to more than 2,000 songs written by other songwriters. "I'm trying to keep the instruments I love about country music -- the banjo, fiddle and mandolin -- and mix in the electric guitar, electric bass and drums, so I can do on record what I love to do out there on the road, which is get out there and rock. I want to keep what I love about bluegrass and rock, which is their energy, and the great songs from country music, and mesh it all together and see what comes out, like we did with 'Am I the Only One.'"

Dierks adds that he's in no rush to complete the new project. "We're having fun working on it. I'm just taking my time. We started on it in October and we still have a ways to go. It's just tough coming off of 'Up on the Ridge,' which was such a special project for me."

Dierks and Justin Moore play the Budweiser Stage at Tags Summerfest in Big Flatts, N.Y., on Friday (June 17) and continue into Canada for Saugeen Summer Nights in Ayton, Ontario, on June 18. Check here for more of his upcoming tour dates.

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