ABC/Image Group LA Dierks Bentley kicks off his Mountain High tour tonight in Columbia, Maryland, and the “Woman, Amen” hitmaker can’t help but remember some of the difficult times before he became one of country’s biggest acts. 

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” the Arizona native recalls “I had, like, three years of trying to headline tours, playing these big arenas that hold 25,000 people and only 2,500 showed up…Every review was like, ‘Bless his heart. He was playing like it was a sold-out show, but no one came.’ [So] this feels like a second career almost, and a second chance.”

Now, with hit records and successful business ventures, Dierks says touring these days is about a lot more than just selling tickets.

“I’ve already got a lot of great stuff going on,” he says candidly. “I’ve got a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 4-year-old. It’s not about making money, it’s about my life. I want to have a great summer, have a lot of fun, make great memories, [and] be totally present from the second we get there on site.”

Having Brothers Osborne and LANCO on the road with him is part of the fun for Dierks.

“You want to spend that summer with people you want to be around,” he explains. “And obviously, it’d be nice if that’s people that also are having success in their career and can help sell tickets and all that. You’re always trying to find that [equation] where one plus one equals three — where a group of people come together and their sum is greater than their parts.”

The Mountain High trek visits Holmdel and Camden, New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday.

Dierks’ new album, The Mountain, comes out June 8.  

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