Before Dierks Bentley took the stage at Michigan’s Faster Horses music festival Friday (July 21) as the night one headliner, the country superstar gave fans a pre-show performance — but unbeknownst to most.
Just ahead of Maddie & Tae’s performance on the main stage, a band called the Michigan Mule Ticks performed a brief set of bluegrass songs, including Marshall Tucker’s “Can’t You See.” What most fans may not have realized is that the random appearance was actually Bentley and his band, who would be taking the stage later that night.
As Billboard documented in a behind-the-scenes piece of Bentley’s tour last month, the 41-year-old has recently started a pre-show tradition of going out with his bandmates to soundcheck, if you will. “Me and the guys in the band, we’re crazy about bluegrass,” Bentley explained. “It’s really fun for us as a band because, you know, we play this music backstage sitting around anyway, so it’s a chance for us to throw in some different songs.”
How do people not know that Bentley is on stage before his own set? He’s incognito, of course. And naturally, his bandmates couldn’t resist going all the way with the alter ego, landing on a simply perfect name for Bentley’s bluegrass character.
“We’ve been trying all this stuff out and Dirty Doug really felt right,” Bentley tells Billboard, pointing out that he was still wearing his bolo from earlier. “Dirty Doug rocks a bolo, of course.”
Bentley gave Billboard a full rundown of his band’s bluegrass shtick at this year’s Faster Horses. Check out the video above.