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Country 04/10/2005

Grand Ole Opry Inducts Dierks Bentley As Newest Member

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dierks Bentley Fans Website) - - Rising country music star Dierks Bentley was inducted into the world-famous Grand Ole Opry presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store this evening by Opry member Marty Stuart. Bentley made his Opry debut on April 18, 2003 and had been surprised with an on-stage invitation to join the Opry at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in July.

After Bentley performed his current smash hit "Come A Little Closer," he was joined on stage by Stuart. "As country music has changed and grown through the years, the one thing that has remained steady is the Grand Ole Opry," said Stuart. "I am proud to introduce the newest member of the Opry... Dierks Bentley."

Holding up his Opry member award that had just been presented to him by Opry general manager Pete Fisher, Bentley said, "this here is the ultimate backstage pass. Maybe I could get this on a laminate? I share this honor with these guys behind me who ride the bus. Thanks!"

During the induction which aired live on "Grand Ole Opry Live" on GAC: Great American Country, Bentley was presented the Opry Member Award, a 14-inch bronze and oak wood replica of the Opry's vintage microphone stand designed by renowned sculptor Bill Rains. A portion of the trophy's wooden base recreates the famed circle of wood taken from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Opry from 1943-74, and placed in the stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. The wood used, which was derived from Ryman pews, became available following the Ryman's restoration in 1994. The award has been presented to each Opry member.

Bentley's reputation as a country renegade, blending traditional country with a newer edge, has garnered the attention of fans and critics alike. Consistently ranked at the top of the charts, his self-titled debut CD spawned the hit singles "What Was I Thinkin'", "How Am I Doin'?" and "My Last Name" and was certified platinum by the RIAA. His sophomore album, Modern Day Drifter, debuted at No 1 on the Billboard Charts in 2005 and was recently certified gold by the RIAA taking him from talented newcomer to chart-topping country mainstay. From his early days in Nashville as a researcher at cable network TNN, Bentley has had incredible admiration for the Opry and its members. In fact, he was such a fan in those days that the Opry's Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher had to go as far as limiting his backstage access, making Bentley's induction this week as the youngest current member of the Opry a true benchmark in his career. Bentley's long and varied list of awards and accolades includes 2005 CMA Horizon Award Nominee, ACM's Top New Artist in 2004, CMT's Breakthrough Video Award, Top New Artist of the Year by Billboard and R&R, Breakout Artist of the Year by Music Row Magazine and one of the Top 10 Breakout Artists of the Year by Access Hollywood.

The Grand Ole Opry is presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Opry performances are held every weekend of the year, and the Tuesday Night Opry continues now through Dec. 20, 2005. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or log on to Upcoming performers include Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Terri Clark, Jimmy Dickens, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, Wynonna, and more.

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