16 Years Ago: Dierks Bentley’s Major-Label Debut Album Is Released
Sixteen years ago today, on Aug. 19, 2003, Dierks Bentley released his eponymous major-label freshman album. The project was released on Capitol Records.
Prior to releasing Dierks Bentley, Bentley had released another album, Don't Leave Me in Love, on Dangling Rope. Bentley's debut single from his first Capitol Records disc, "What Was I Thinkin'," went to No. 1, and the project's two other singles, "My Last Name" and "How Am I Doin'," landed in the Top 20.
“I was driving down I-65 in Nashville, going to drop my dogs off at a friend’s house before I went out on the road that weekend,” Bentley recalls to The Boot of the first time he heard "What Was I Thinkin'" on the radio. “I heard 'What Was I Thinkin'' and pulled over the side of the road, as I always do, and sat there and listened to it. Radio is what got me into country music, so just to hear yourself on the radio just blows your mind!"
Bentley performed "What Was I Thinkin'" during his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, a few months before his album's release. The song's music video stars actress Lauren Elaine as "Becky;" she reprises the role as the Arizona native's love interest in the videos for "How Am I Doin'" and "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do."
Bentley wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 13 tracks on Dierks Bentley, including its final song, "Train Travelin'," which features the Del McCoury Band. One outside track, "My Love Will Follow You," was written by Buddy and Julie Miller, and previously included on Buddy Miller's 1995 Your Love and Other Lies album.
Based on the success of his freshman record, Bentley won an ACM Awards trophy for Top New Artist and also took home the CMA Awards' Horizon Award. To date, Dierks Bentley has sold more than one million copies.
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
How Well Do You Know Dierks Bentley?
See Pictures of Dierks Bentley + More Country Stars Then and Now