Dierks Bentley’s Revelations Over Meat-and-Three

Singer Opens Up Over Lunch at Arnold's Country Kitchen

Probably the only thing better than having brisket, fried green tomatoes, stewed okra and turnip greens at Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville would be having it with Dierks Bentley.

Billboard got to drive with Bentley to the famous little red shack on 8th Avenue South and pig out — there is talk in the story of hushpuppies and peach pie, but I’m assuming there was much, much more — while he talked some of the lows and highs he’s faced since moving to Nashville in the first place.

One of the lows was Bentley’s style. Not that there’s anything wrong with it at all, but just that he was kind of everything the other country stars were not.

“I didn’t see it ever working out for me. I don’t wear tight, starched jeans. I don’t have a big belt buckle and a cowboy hat,” Bentley told Billboard.

But one of the highs has to be corresponding with U2’s Bono. (Back when Bentley was releasing his debut album, he told me that he was a card-carrying member of Bono’s fan club. He’d been paying the dues for years, he’d said.)

“I sent the song to Bono and said, ’It’s a little rough,’ ” Bentley said about his “Here on Earth,” when he was looking for a little feedback from one of his heroes.

“He wrote me back,” Bentley recalled, “and said, ’It’s not rough. It’s a polished gem.’”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.