Dierks Bentley is ready to get back onstage, even if right now the idea is a little scary.

"The idea of being up onstage seems totally frightening right now," Bentley admits to Taste of Country Nights, "as well as, like, super exciting ... That's the way it should always feel, and it definitely feels that way right now, times 10."

The country star is hopeful that he'll be able to launch a "big tour" sometime this summer, as COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to climb in the United States, but he's also planning something much smaller before then.

"I'm gonna do a little dive bar tour, just for the heck of it," he reveals. "Why not, you know? You can right now ... to kind of get the word out that we're back."

Bentley offered no further details about the trek, except to say that he might have stolen the idea from another band very close to him.

"The Hot Country Knights actually wanted to do the dive bar tour," Bentley says, nodding to the '90s country band that bear a suspicious resemblance to Bentley and his band. "But they might tag along ... They might be out there."

Bentley's current single is "Gone," from a to-be-announced new album. He's been working on the project in recent weeks, and hopes to get it out to fans in August.

"I'd love to get another song out there before we get back on the road," he says, "because, selfishly, it's just a lot of fun to sing new songs and have people sing 'em back to you."

The "Drunk on a Plane" hitmaker will, however, be singing an old song at the 2021 ACM Awards on Sunday night (April 18). From the Station Inn, he'll cover U2's "Pride (in the Name of Love)" with the War and Treaty and other special guests. Bentley — who is nominated for Male Artist of the Year at the awards show — originally covered the '80s single for his 2010 bluegrass album Up on the Ridge.

After relocating from Las Vegas to Nashville in 2020 out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACM Awards are back in Music City in 2021. As showrunners did last year, they're spreading this year's event out across iconic venues (the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe), though a few performances will take place elsewhere. They'll be following local guidelines related to the pandemic, as well as additional, self-imposed safety measures.

The 2021 ACM Awards will begin at 8PM ET and will air live on CBS and be available to stream on Paramount+. Sign up for the streaming service here.

2021 ACM Awards Nominees: The Full List

Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton lead all 2021 ACM Awards nominees with six each and Miranda Lambert has five, including Female Artist of the Year. Thomas Rhett and Ashley McBryde will be up for four ACM awards on April 18. The CBS broadcast will award trophies for Entertainer, Song and Album of the Year, in addition to Duo and Group of the Year. This is a list of all ACM Awards nominations for 2021.

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