(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
Without the Internet, it would have been extremely crowded when more than 30,000 fans joined Dierks Bentley for his five-day recording session in North Carolina. Because it was a virtual visit, they weren't there to slide the volume controls and tweak the EQ and tell Bentley they wanted to hear a playback, but they were there in spirit. It was all part of Bentley's master plan to let as many of his fans as he could watch the process of tracking 15 songs for his next album. The fans were able to stream the feed from the Echo Mountain studio any time, day or night. "Letting the fans be part of that process was a total bonding experience ... it was 24 hours a day, and they probably know more about me than they ever wanted to now," Bentley admits. But he also says the entire process was one of the coolest he's ever had. "It was definitely intense and, at times, a roller coaster emotionally as we worked through the arrangements of these songs. I guess I'm still a little old school in the way I like to record ... and, as a fan, the way I like to listen to music. I still enjoy the process of making an album and not just a collection of singles." I'm sure after the 30,000 fans invested some of their own time watching the process, they'll feel the same way about the album they helped make.