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Dierks Bentley Honors Country's Past While Looking Forward to the Format's Future

Image courtesy of Photo Credit: Nino Munoz (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Photo Credit: Nino Munoz (via ABC News Radio)

Dierks Bentley is open to all styles of music, but he will always have a special place in his heart for traditional country music. That's why he feels a real kinship with other country stars who still celebrate those classic sounds from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

"I call 'em the honky tonkers," Dierks tells ABC News Radio. " Blake Shelton , John Rich , myself. There's other guys out there, but guys that really eat up, just old-school country music. I have a connection with Blake, even though we're not the closest of friends, I know how much he loves that kind of music. He just is such a fan of it. That's a real bond."

Dierks considers himself very lucky to have been a friend to the late George Jones and he still keeps in touch with bluegrass icons like Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs .

Says Dierks, "At the same time, I'm sending texts with Tyler [ Hubbard ] from Florida Georgia Line and kind of in the middle of all these different worlds of bluegrass and the rock and the country stuff."

Dierks' melting pot approach to making music continues to pay off for him. His latest album, Riser , just debuted at #1 on Billboard 's Country Albums chart.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio