Dierks Bentley walks the line between honky-tonk everyman and polished Nashville hitmaker without ever surrendering his old school country roots. (Though 2009’s disappointing Feel the Fire comes close.) His ability to balance traditional trappings like fiddles and pedal steel with boisterous guitar serves him well, abetted by his rugged baritone twang. After releasing his 2001 debut Don’t Leave Me in Love on a small label, Bentley scored an internship with the Nashville Network for whom he dug up old concert footage, all the while studying country-rock standard bearers like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. He incorporated his own blend of youthful rebellion and shit-kicking humility, turning his subsequent two major-label releases (2003’s self-titled and 2005’s Modern Day Drifter) platinum. Three of his last four albums have topped the country charts, beginning with Modern Day Drifter and ending with his most recent, Up on the Ridge, which topped out at #2. It found Bentley exploring progressive bluegrass, with the help of guests Miranda Lambert, Kris Kristofferson, and Del McCoury. Aiding the contemporary feel are covers of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and Dylan’s “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power).” It’s a fine return to form after Feel the Fire, and positions Bentley as one of Nashville’s most intriguing chart-toppers. Bentley headlines the Jägermeister Country Tour with support from blue-collar songsmith Josh Thompson and female duo Miss Willie Brown.