Dierk Bentley is “Living” Large on His Birthday

One can only hope that Dierks Bentley is as euphoric on his 44th birthday today (Nov. 20) as he was in the music video for “Living,” his latest hit. In it, he looks to be having more fun than a gazelle bounding across a field of trampolines as he runs and tumbles with his adoring son. He’s the very model of a doting father.

Now contrast the Daddy Dierks of that video with the hot-blooded young buck we see in his first video — “What Was I Thinkin’” — which came out in 2003. There he’s the bane of an ill-tempered, shotgun-wielding father who’s determined to protect his daughter from Young Dierks’ lascivious advances.

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What a difference 16 year makes.

Between these two symbolic videos, Bentley has done some growing. He’s released nine studio albums, two of which have gone platinum and five gold. He’s racked up 18 No. 1 singles, including such chart-toppers as “Come a Little Closer,” “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go),” “Sideways,” “Home,” “I Hold On” and “Drunk On A Plane.”

In fact, “What Was I Thinking” was such an infectiously good-humored song that it went No. 1, an almost unheard-of feat for a brand new artist. Looking over all of Bentley’s achievements, the Academy of Country Music presented him its Merle Haggard Spirit Award in 2018.

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Bentley now has his own series of Whiskey Row bars, three in Arizona, one in Nashville and a fifth just announced to be located in Denver. Last year, he launched the first of his annual Seven Peaks Festival in Buena Vista, Colorado.

CMT has chronicled Bentley’s journey from the beginning, and, as we often do on our artist birthday celebrations, we foraged through our archives and found these three Dierks Bentley origin stories.

The first explains what led to Bentley’s debut album.

The second peeks into his first No. 1 party (for “What Was I Thinking,” of course).

And the third covers his first platinum party at which newscaster Katie Couric appears.

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Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.