Dierks BentleyDierks Bentley is throwing a bit of a career curveball by following his No.1 album, 'Feel That Fire,' with an album that showcases more of his bluegrass roots, 'Up on the Ridge.' Surprisingly, it was his dissatisfaction while acting as opening act for Brad Paisley on the Paisley Party tour early last year that led to Dierks' musical diversion.

"We were playing for about 45 minutes, and we weren't really allotted time for a sound check," Dierks tells the Colorado Springs Independent. "It was really frustrating musically for us, to say the least. I just kind of sat there all year long going, 'I need to make music. I need to make great music that I'm proud of. I need to get away from this type of situation.'"

As the album was originally intended to be purely for Dierks' own pleasure, its direction took an unexpected -- and fortunate -- turn when producer Jon Randall Stewart signed on. 'Up on the Ridge,' which features an impressive list of guest appearances from Del McCoury, Vince Gill, Miranda Lambert, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers and Jamey Johnson, also includes surprising covers of songs by U2 and Bob Dylan, which may seem unusual for a bluegrass CD.

"As soon as I started thinking about doing [the U2 song] 'Pride' with Del McCoury and the Punch Brothers, I was like, 'OK, we're not making a traditional record,'" he says."This isn't going to be a side project. It's going to be a career record for me."

The album won't hit stores until June 8, but Dierks is already on the road, taking some of Del McCoury's band members along for the ride. "We're calling this a pre-release tour," he says. "It's just a chance for me to go out and have fun. I'm going to have so much fun on this tour, I'll be grinning from ear to ear, because I just can't believe I get the chance to hang out with my best friends and play, and I get to be the Del of the Del McCoury Band, which are impossible shoes to fill."

In addition to hitting the road for 'Up on the Ridge,' Dierks is also finding time to record another studio album, as well as adding more dates to his Miles & Music charity motorcycle rides. Click here to see which cities Dierks will hit next!

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