BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM
“Many of the people in this room have known Dierks for years,” said Kyle Young at the Thursday evening (March 3) party celebrating the opening of Dierks Bentley‘s “Every Mile a Memory” exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Some 20 years ago, Bobby Karl was bellied up to the bar at 3rd & Lindsley when a curly-headed youngster walked up and said, “I want to meet you. My name is Dierks Bentley. I am going to be a recording artist. I hope you’ll remember me.”
“Well, I’ve never met anyone named Dierks before,” I said, “so I promise I’ll always remember you.” And I did.
In 2001, Bentley issued an indie album on Big White Music called Don’t Leave Me in Love, which I duly noted. After signing with Capitol two years later, he moved into my neighborhood and began stopping over to play his new music. So I was one of the many, many attendees who have been so happy to watch him become the star that he is.
Other veteran Dierks pals in the crowd included Pat Rolfe, Brett Beavers, Mike Ward, Jessi Alexander & Jon Randall Stewart (who are also former neighbors), David Conrad, Luke Wooten and, of course, Jake, the star’s dog and video costar. Not to mention wife Cassidy Black, who has been his sweetie since junior high.
“I’m a country music singer; I’m a country music fan; I’m a country music student,” said Bentley during the cocktail party to celebrate this latest feather in his cap. “I love this music. I never really looked at country music as a path to stardom. I’ve been really lucky. It’s been a great ride. I’m really honored to be here, and I’m going to do my best to keep representing the genre.”
To that end, he’ll be co-hosting this spring’s ACM Awards from Las Vegas. That’s a long way from where he started in Music City.
“We are exactly one mile from a place that gave Dierks some of his early musical memories, The Station Inn,” Young recalled. “Dierks walked into The Station Inn 20 years ago and heard some of the finest bluegrass musicians. He found a community. They cheered him forward, backed him up and pushed him on. It’s been a long trip, but not one that he took alone.”
Along for this part of the journey were Tom Lord, Mike Sirls, Nina Miller, Hunter Kelly, Kathryn Richardson, Peter Cooper, Teresa George, Bob Paxman, Mary Hilliard Harrington, Michael McCall and Chris Horsnell.
After the cocktails and speeches, we toured the display. “Every Mile a Memory” features awards, costumes, posters, manuscripts and more. We’re as fond of it as we are of him.