The 'Long' Road

Shedding his neo-traditional label one song at a time, country singer Dierks Bentley says his third album, "Long Trip Alone," is a snapshot in time. The set is due this week via Capitol Nashville.

Shedding his neo-traditional label one song at a time, country singer Dierks Bentley says his third album, "Long Trip Alone," is a snapshot in time. The set is due this week via Capitol Nashville.

"I have certain ideas musically that continue to evolve so all of that is reflected on this record," Bentley says. "I think sonically it falls somewhere between Waylon [Jennings] and U2, maybe. There are definitely some bigger songs on there that take love and expound on that subject. And there's some good Waylon groove stuff on there as well. I call them 'guy songs.' Songs that guys like myself want to drink beer to and hang out and listen to country music."

Appealing to both guys and gals has been the secret to Bentley's platinum success over the past few years. Bentley, who got married in 2005, explores relationships from a range of perspectives on the new album, from the inspirational title track to the Jerry Reed-esque "Band of Brothers" and the fun love song "That Don't Make It Easy Loving Me."

Bentley just returned to familiar stomping grounds on tour. He says over the past four years, he's toured more than anyone else, including 250 dates last year and an expected 160 shows in 2006. "I feel like we earned it but we have a long way to go," Bentley says. "But it all depends on how well this tour does this fall. If this doesn't do well, I don't know ... I don't have a plan B."