Dierks Bentley is taking a step back, in order to move forward. As opposed to headlining another tour of his own, he'll kick off 2009 as an opening act on Brad Paisley's Paisley Party Tour. Bentley, who celebrated sold-out shows on his own Throttle Wide Open tour last year, insists the move is not a regression, but rather a learning experience.

"Everyone's just done such a great job of building up our own headlining tour," Bentley tells GAC. "But it's also a good time to take a little time away from it and see what else is out there before we go back out and do it again. I love being the senior in high school, but when you're the senior, sometimes you look back and remember how much fun it was to be the sophomore or the junior where you had some people to look up to. It's fun to be able to have the freedom to step back and do that."

Bentley will join Darius Rucker and Crystal Shawanda when the Paisley Party Tour begins on January 15.