Dierks Bentley Calls Out Country Radio, Says ‘Play More Women’
Dierks Bentley headlined an extra special hometown show in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday (Feb. 22) at the Bridgestone Arena, and he took the opportunity to promote some of his favorite women in country music, calling on country radio to play them more.
Bentley is in the midst of his 2019 Burning Man Tour featuring Tenille Townes and Jon Pardi, and at his Nashville date, he brought out special guests that included Thomas Rhett , who was unrecognizable during a fun appearance with Bentley's alter ego '90s tribute band, Hot Country Knights. The night also included a special acoustic collaboration with Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban, who joined Bentley to perform Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart," Merle Haggard's "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down," Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away," and Loretta Lynn's "Blue Kentucky Girl."
See Pictures of Maybe Thomas Rhett Singing With Hot Country Knights:
That wasn't the only moment Bentley featured both Lambert and Lynn. During his performance of "Woman, Amen," Bentley's video graphics included images of Lambert, Lynn, Maren Morris, Shania Twain, Emmylou Harris and Reba McEntire. He went one step further and told the crowd that country radio needs to "play more women."
A few songs later, Bentley performed "Different for Girls," which he originally recorded as a duet with Elle King, and Townes joined him to sing King's parts. She shared to her Instagram stories with many thanks and bewilderment afterward.
Morris responded to Bentley's inclusion of her on the video wall along with his support of female country artists on Twitter, writing, "Dierks was the first artist to ever put me on a feature for his album and it was a song my husband wrote. He and Keith Urban believed in me and gave me work before anyone else knew who I was. Glad he’s speaking out."
Bentley's remark and his inclusion come in the midst of a years-long controversy about the diminishing exposure women have been receiving at country radio, despite the critical acclaim and inroads into other genres that country women have been earning. Bentley's Burning Man Tour is one of two tours on the 2019 Live Nation Country Megaticket that features a female artist. Carly Pearce is also on Jason Aldean's Ride All Night Tour.
29 Songs From Women in Country That Demand Attention: