OFFSTAGE: Dierks Bentley Takes Motor City On

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Move over, Bob Seger. Take a break, Kid Rock. It’s Dierks Bentley’s turn to try to shine a light on the hard-working blue collar folks of the Motor City. And he does a fine job with this quiet tune about a man who spends his life working at a stamping factory and how he is going to miss it after his last night in Detroit. Bentley wrote and recorded the song as part of the feature story in Esquire magazine’s big May music issue. Knowing Bentley grew up in Arizona makes it a little hard to believe he knows what it’s like to spend a lifetime on the east side of Detroit, pressing out bumpers, chassis, fenders and doors. (Then again, I only spent one summer working on an assembly line factory job at Ford, so it’s not like I’m an expert, either.) What Bentley does know, though, is how to write a song for and about real people. You can hear it in his songs like “Down in the Mine,” “My Last Name” and “Better Believer.” As for getting in touch with those Detroit roots on this one, he says, “For a country singer, there’s a connection to Detroit in that hardworking blue-collar people are the lifeblood of what we do. Every four years, politicians go out on the road and talk to real folks to get their votes. But that’s what country singers do every day. We talk to the people before and after the show. We have a sense of what’s going on without looking at the stock ticker.”