Dierks Bentley Kicks Off CMA Day with an Attitude of Gratitude

ABC/Todd WawrychukDierks Bentley may be running on very little sleep these days, but he’s the first to tell you it was worth getting up early Wednesday morning — or not going to bed at all — to play Good Morning America‘s pre-CMA Awards concert in front of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. In addition to debuting his new single “Black” for a plaza-full of delighted fans, the four-time nominee also nabbed this year’s trophy for Musical Event of the Year for his most-recent number-one, “Different for Girls,” with Elle King.

“I’ve already got a CMA win and the day’s just starting, so it’s a pretty good day so far!” Dierks said earnestly, as one of his daughters lingered nearby. “Just an attitude of gratitude, man. I would’ve killed to have a day like this 15 years ago when I was playing these bars on Lower Broadway. I would’ve given up a week’s worth of sleep to be part of the CMAs, to be nominated, to get a chance to be on Good Morning America… Yeah, this is incredible!”

Even during rehearsals, Dierks admitted emotions were already running high for Wednesday’s historic half-century anniversary edition of country music’s biggest awards show.

“The thing that’s moved me the most is just looking out from that stage at the cardboard cut-outs of people’s names and faces… it’s unbelievable! Alan JacksonCharley Pride, so many great historical heritage icons in this business. Dolly Parton‘s right in front of me. It’s just the amount of old school country that’s represented tonight, that moves me. That really excites me. I think this being the 50th anniversary, really combining the old and the new, and just really bringing it all together into one show is pretty awesome.”

The country community comes together to celebrate 50 Years of the CMA Awards starting Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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