"I was trying to make headlining happen, and sometimes you can't do that just through work, you have to let the music steer the way, I guess..."

Dierks Bentley can't really explain it, but it seems like after 15 years of trying to be a big country star, he finally is. But he isn't sure of why...or why now.

"I don't know how the hell I'm here, really, but something's happening. Ten years into my career, I'm headlining these places, but I wouldn't have it any other way, man. It's been a great climb."

But Bentley seems proud that he let the music steer him in the direction that got him to where he's finally arrived.

"It's nice to be able to say that we put the music first, and when you do that, good things can happen far beyond what you could actually try to make happen," he said.

His latest No. 1 "Drunk on a Plane" probably deserves "a little bit" of the credit for Bentley's surge in popularity, which is ironic when you consider that Bentley almost didn't include it on his latest album, Riser.

"I didn't even know if I wanted that song to be on the album, and I didn't think it should be the next single," Dierks said.


Bentley is going to join Luke Bryan on Aug. 31 to play Chicago's Soldier Field. And who knows, maybe in a couple years, Dierks will be headlining there, too.