Dierks Bentley’s “Surreal” Moment at the Country Music Hall of Fame

The Singer's Every Mile a Memory Exhibit Opened Today (March 4)

“I’ll sing really good for the people.”

That’s what a 6-year-old Dierks Bentley wrote for a grade school assignment about wanting to be a “rock star.” At the top of his paper, the teacher commented, “Interesting story.”

Accurate would have been a better adjective.

This piece of ruled paper is one of many treasured artifacts you can see at the Dierks Bentley: Every Mile a Memory exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum , which opened Friday (March 4).

“A lot of things haven’t changed, but so much has changed in my life, and I’m so appreciative it’s all happening now,” mused Bentley. One of those things that hasn’t changed is his foot-side companion, his dog Jake, who has been with him from the start and joined him for his walk through the exhibit.

The weight of the moment was not lost on the Arizona native, who moved to Nashville in the late ’90s when he enrolled at Vanderbilt University. “It’s totally surreal. I understand I’m not in the Hall of Fame, but I am in the Hall of Fame,” he joked at the exhibit opening.

While the CMA and ACM award winner has certainly reached impressive levels of success, he proudly notes that he “didn’t use country music as a vehicle to become a star.” Instead, he credits his stardom to his passion for the genre.

The exhibit is a huge milestone for the singer, who will release a new album Black later this year. “It has really taken being here now to actually grasp this whole thing,” he said after his first walk through his display. “It’s hard to comprehend. It’s the Country Music Hall of Fame, and to even be part of this in any small way is amazing.”

The Dierks Bentley: Every Mile a Memory exhibit will be open through Sept. 6, 2016.

Writer and social-ite for CMT, lover of all things Nashville, and firm believer that Ross and Rachel were not on a break.