Dierks Bentley
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Country star is working with "younger blood" on follow-up to "Home," calls it a "a big one for me. I'm putting a lot of time into it, doing it right"

Dierks Bentley hasn't spent a lot of time at "Home" before getting back into the studio for its follow-up.

Bentley tells Billboard he's been writing new material since October, working with a variety of different producers and collaborators including Brett James, David Lee Murphy, Ryan Tyndell, Brett Beavers and others.

"I've got a lot of new folks, younger blood. I'm trying to keep it fresh, man," Bentley says. And noting that the album not only follows the success of the Grammy Award-nominated "Home," his fourth country No. 1, but it is also the last on his current deal with Capitol Nashville.

Bentley says that "this next record is a big one for me. I'm putting a lot of time into it, doing it right. I'm really excited about it. I want it to be my best one, something really special." 

If all goes well, Bentley hopes to have a first single out in May with the album to follow in the fall. His concert audiences, meanwhile, are already hearing "I Hold On," in which he sings about both a much-loved truck that has more than 200,000 miles on it and his wife, Cassidy.

"It's about holding on to things that mean something to me and really expressing the sentiment of, 'Trust me, I'm not going anywhere,' " Bentley explains. "It incorporates some bigger imagery, and people seem to get it right away."

Bentley is maintaining a packed tour schedule while finishing the album, too, mixing dates with Miranda Lambert alongside solo and festival appearances. He'll  perform at the ACM Party For A Cause and ACM Fan Jam as well as Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night April 6, 7 and 8 respectively in Las Vegas, at the Stagecoach festival on April 27 in Indio, Calif., and at the inaugural Faster Horses festival during mid-July in Brooklyn, Mich.