Before launching into his someday swan song “How I’m Going Out” during his special show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium last night (June 7), Bentley assured his band (and the audience who packed the pews to see the country superstar) that he had no intention of hanging up his guitar anytime soon. The singer told the audience that he felt that he and the band were just hitting their stride. And with an effervescent new album and an upcoming music festival that combines his love of country music and bluegrass, he couldn’t be more right.
But Bentley knows he didn’t get here alone. During the late-night show in which he played his new studio album The Mountain (released June 8) in its entirety from top to bottom, he was quick to shout out the “songwriter buddies,” producers and musicians who were part of the record, along with his road family, real family and fans, many of whom had already purchased copies of the album at the merch table.
Inspired by his time at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the “Women, Amen” singer headed to Colorado to write and record The Mountain. Bentley brought a taste of Telluride to the Ryman when he brought out bluegrass heavy-hitter Sam Bush, who he introduced as “the King of Telluride.” The mandolin virtuoso joined Bentley for “You Can’t Bring Me Down” and “Travelin’ Light.”
Bentley and company easily glided between freewheeling bluegrass jams, the easy pop groove of “Goodbye in Telluride” and country-rockers “Burning Man” and “Woman, Amen.”
The audience stayed on their feet for the encore, which included hits “I Hold On,” “What Was I Thinkin’,” “Drunk on a Plane” and “Up on the Ridge.” The real encore, however, was the surprise performance from Bentley’s ’90s country cover band, Hot Country Knights, who burned through a string of ’90s radio favorites.
Rising country band and Bentley’s tour mates LANCO opened the show, which benefited the Opry Trust Fund.
Bentley is currently on tour across the U.S. on his Mountain High Tour.