When Billboard asked Dierks Bentley to name his top five country albums of all time, he couldn’t do it. He could not just pick five. He chose six (almost seven if you include David Lee Roth’s side project), and they’re not all country. But they are all great and a big part of what kind of artist he is today.
“For me, country and bluegrass kind of get intermixed,” he said. “So I’d have to say my first record would be the Del McCoury Band, an album called Cold Hard Facts. It came out in ’96. It was really a record that resparked my love of country music.”
His third one on the list is Tony Rice’s 1979 album Manzanita. “He’s just one of the great voices in bluegrass music, and it’s a killer record,” Bentley said. “The musicianship on the record is unbelievable. It’s really a standard for anyone interested in bluegrass.”
Fourth on Bentley’s list is Van Halen’s self-titled debut album from 1978, and he credits the band with inspiring him to pick up the electric guitar. “We have a record player on the bus,” he admitted, “and that’s our pre-show music.” And, fun fact, he also said that the band’s lead singer David Lee Roth was also part of a bluegrass project called Strummin’ with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen in 2006.)
If you want to steal Bentley’s list, you can get all this music on Amazon for $65 (Or $80 if you want to hear Roth sing “Jamie’s Crying” with fiddle and mandolin).