A first-time visit to the Bangor Auditorium, for a Saturday concert, marks the end of a whirlwind week for Dierks Bentley.
On Monday, the up-and-coming country singer performed on the TV shows “Today” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” On Wednesday, he visited the radio show “Imus in the Morning” and played at New York City’s famed Hammerstein Ballroom.
His third album on Capital, “Long Trip Alone,” just came out Tuesday, and Bentley accepts the necessity of such promotional appearances, even if they’re not his favorite thing to do.
“I’d rather be on stage playing in front of a bunch of people,” said the 30-year-old singer in a phone interview from the back of his tour bus in West Virginia. “TV is a lot of sitting around and getting nervous, but it reaches a lot of people.”
Bentley, who was given a family name as a first name, is proud of “Long Trip Alone,” which he put together with producer Brett Beavers, his longtime songwriting partner, and co-producer Luke Wooten.
“There’s some big songs on this record, about life and love,” said the newlywed Bentley, who eloped to Mexico with his high-school sweetheart, Cassidy Black. “It is a snapshot in time of where I am in my personal life as well as musically.”
Bentley moved to Nashville from his native Phoenix at the age of 19, but it’s only in recent years that he has enjoyed success. His first two albums for Capital, 2003’s “Dierks Bentley” and 2005’s “Modern Day Drifter,” both went platinum. He’s a Country Music Association Horizon Award winner and has been nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Top Male Vocalist award and CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year Award. He became the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry last Oct. 1.
“It’s been a crazy four years,” he said. “My hour and a half on stage each night is my chance to relax, to breathe, to party.”
This success comes more than 15 years after he first picked up an electric guitar. Bentley found a new form of musical education after a brief time at Vanderbilt University. First, he performed at clubs around Nashville. He also had a day job screening concert videos for The Nashville Network.
“It was a chance to watch a lot of footage of people I look up to,” he recalled. “It was like going to Country Music 101.”
After opening for George Strait and Kenny Chesney, Bentley is headlining the Locked and Loaded tour, which includes Miranda Lambert and the Randy Rogers Band. He’s enjoying the experience.
“It’s got a kind of youthful, energetic feel,” he explained. “We’re all hungry for success, and we’re getting a chance to do this. We’re probably putting on a bigger show than where we stand on the country music scale. It’s a lot of fun, onstage and off.”
Bentley laughed when asked about what he doesn’t like about his chosen profession.
“I’m glad I had real jobs before this, because it makes you realize this isn’t a real job,” he said. “I mean, I get to sing my songs for people and talk about myself. The hardest part is the traveling, being away from your girl. But that hour and a half each night makes everything worthwhile.”
Dierks Bentley performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Bangor Auditorium. Tickets for the Locked and Loaded tour concert are available at the box office at 990-4444 or TicketMaster at 775-3331.