Dierks Bentley Was Originally ‘Turned Off’ By Nashville Music Scene
Dierks Bentley knew, even as a child, that he wanted to be a singer. So, after attending one year of college at the University of Vermont, the Arizona native transferred to Nashville's Vanderbilt University, studying while tirelessly pursuing his dream.
"When I got to Nashville, the first thing I did was actually get an internship with the Country Music Association, like on day two of being here," Bentley recently told The Boot and other reporters. "[I wanted to] figure out what made Nashville spin, what worked."
Unfortunately, he quickly became disillusioned by what he encountered and began to wonder if he really had a place in the country music community.
"I got turned off pretty quickly, just by the music scene," Bentley admits. "It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. Everyone was trying to follow Garth [Brooks], and he’s a hard guy to follow.
"I was looking for the source: Where’s the heart of this town?" he continues. "I really wasn’t finding it there, on 16th and 17th Avenue."
Thankfully, Bentley happened upon an ad in Nashville Scene about the city's famous Station Inn, which focuses almost entirely on bluegrass music. There, he quickly found like-minded people.
"I went down there on a whim and found what I was looking for," Bentley recalls. "Guys and girls that weren’t wearing starched jeans and big belt buckles. They were just wearing regular clothes, but they had all the chops; they were able to sing and sing together, and play and play together. Just great energy and spirit. Very sharing and open and non-competitive. A real love of not just bluegrass music, but country music."
Finding the Station Inn changed Bentley, and inspired him to continue pursuing what he loved. And even after he'd sold records and had hit singles, Bentley remained loyal to the venue that helped him find his footing.
"It was a real moment for me, one of the three or four moments in my life, where things really clicked," he says. "I gave up on the rest of Nashville and focused on the Station Inn and that whole bluegrass community and scene, and that’s really where it kind of started.
"I was just a real disciple of the Station Inn. I went there every Tuesday night without fail," he adds. "I think I only missed about one time in a five-year period."
Inspired by the music he found at the Station Inn, Bentley released a bluegrass album, Up on the Ridge, in 2010. The project is available for download on iTunes.
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