OFFSTAGE: When Dierks Bentley Picks, Why Doesn’t Anybody Grin?

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OFFSTAGE: When Dierks Bentley Picks, Why Doesn’t Anybody Grin?

Published on March 12, 2013 by CMT News

Dierks Bentley
(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and
out of the spotlight.)

When musicians talk about how they taught themselves to play, they never really mention
those excruciating days when they were first learning. And when I say excruciating, I mean for the listeners. You can see
how that’s unfolding for Dierks Bentley, who looks like he’s only
been plucking his Gold Tone banjo for a couple weeks.

In his new DBTV webisode,
Bentley and his band are in a van headed for the airport. “It’s a long day, but luckily for these guys, I brought along my
old banjo,” he says. “They’re not gonna get tired of it.” But after he plays the same part of “Dueling Banjos” tune over and
over and over, one guy’s taking pills and one’s begging for someone to kill him. (Maybe because of the memories of Deliverance,
the 1972 film that made that tune so famous.) Bentley even plays the banjo on the airplane, on the hockey rink and in the
river with no shoes and no shirt. “I just feel at one with nature when I’m out here — river, sun, five-string banjo,” he

Bentley actually seems blissfully unaware of how his playing sounds. That is, until he gets the ultimate snub
from the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma. He offers to donate his banjo to the museum, and the man there just shakes his
head and says, “We’re good. But thanks, anyway.” And this is a place that highlights Kermit the Frog and his banjo, so that
had to hurt.

But I, for one, can actually hear Bentley’s potential. He seems like he’ll be a natural at it, once he
gets over the practicing stage. And I know that he loves and respects the banjo for two reasons: One, he told a story a couple
of years ago about hearing Billy Idol’s 1983 “Rebel Yell” and wondering, “How would that sound with some banjo?'” And two,
when legendary player Earl Scruggs died last year, Bentley was one of the first to tweet his sympathies. “Lost one of the
pillars of bluegrass music and country music today,” he wrote. “Rest in peace #earlscruggs! thanks for a lifetime of music
to listen to!”

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