OFFSTAGE: Dierks Bentley on First Kisses and Valentine’s Mix Tapes

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

He was in fourth grade. That was all Dierks Bentley would tell me about his first kiss. “Names will remain anonymous,” he said. But I did get him to open up a little bit about how he’s going to celebrate the romantic holiday now that he’s grown up. “I. Am. Screwed. I’ve got to get something together quick,” he told me when he was in Chicago last week. I asked him if he’d ever make his wife Cassidy a mix tape of lovey-dovey love songs, and he said yes, and he knew exactly who he’d have on it. “She loves Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams. And when we got married, Keith Whitley’s ’When You Say Nothing at All’ was kind of the theme music, so I’d put that on it,” he said. “I peaked early, at our wedding. I went in big. We eloped to Mexico. I’m still trying to bask in the glow of that, but it’s been almost seven years since that.” Bentley also admitted to me that he could do a better job of making his wife feel special now but that he had hated Valentine’s Day as a single guy. “I played a gig at the Station Inn one Feb. 14 with my band, the Uptown Ramblers, and everyone had to come wearing black,” he said. “Because I was just that anti-Valentine’s Day.”