Last Night: Dierks Bentley at Reliant Stadium

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Dierks Bentley Reliant Stadium March 6, 2013

I never, ever do something like this, for reasons I hope should be obvious to our readers, but after watching Dierks Bentley (and the crowd) Wednesday night at RodeoHouston, I felt compelled to Google the words "Dierks Bentley girlfriend." Ladies love this guy; I wanted to know what kind of ladies' man he really is.

According to famoushookups.com, Bentley is currently married to Cassidy Black and "he has been in one celebrity relationship averaging 7.2 years," which happens to be the duration of said holy matrimony. A little further research, i.e., clicking on the page's "more" link, reveals that the two are middle-school sweethearts.

Jeez. I thought Lady Antebellum was wholesome. Bentley's family-man situation belies the roguish streak that runs through songs like "What Was I Thinkin'" and "Sideways," but this is a singer who knows his audience. When he sings "Come a Little Closer," he might as well be Conway Twitty or Teddy Pendergrass.

Bentley's biggest asset is that he is an everyman in an industry crowded with either self-styled outlaws or stars chasing their next endorsement or TV contract as much as their next hit single (let alone their next great song). Not just the love songs, either. On "Am I the Only One" and "Tip It on Back," he sounds like the kind of guy any man would like to have a beer with, or ride around with for a few hours on a Friday night, doing nothing but breaking a few open-container laws and remembering better days.

Bentley comes across as authentic, sincere in his love of his fans, his country -- "Home" is a rare patriotic anthem that elevates the value of humility rather than a boot in somebody's ass -- and women in short red dresses who materialize to play guitar onstage during "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do."

He's also an actual musician, one with the wisdom to hire a very talented band to go on the road with him. Wednesday brought some of the finest country guitar playing I've heard not just at this year's rodeo, but anywhere for a while. You don't see too many old-fashioned wild-eyed bluegrass jams at the rodeo these days, but Bentley and company gave us one in "Up on the Ridge."

Also, Bentley not only introduced his band (another rarity at the rodeo this year), but also played the old rodeo game "show childhood pictures of the band on the big screen." Nice mullet, drummer (and Houston native) Steve Misamore.

Personal Bias: As far as mainstream country singers go, Bentley is about my favorite. Maybe we have the same affinity for little white tank tops.

The Crowd: May have included a few guys here and there. It was difficult to notice.

Overheard in the Crowd: Lots of whoops when the concert was over, possibly alcohol-induced.

Random Notebook Dump: Bentley's opening music was a curious, Underworld-ish EDM remix of "Am I the Only One." Maybe he does have a progressive streak in him after all.

Random Notebook Dump No. 2: I'm sorry, Dierks, but 37 is much too old for a grown-ass man to be wearing a backward ballcap.

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