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2017 ACM Awards host Dierks Bentley performs his hit single “Every Mile a Memory” from his Long Trip Alone album live at the Grand Ole Opry.

Before becoming a hit-making country artist and host for the 2017 ACM Awards, there was a day when Dierks Bentley was researching footage of old country performances at The Nashville Network and dreaming of someday being in the clips he was watching. Inspired, the Arizona-born artist released his first album, Don’t Leave Me in Love, in 2001. Though the album was not an instant hit, it was a wonderful transition into his second album, a self-titled album on the Capitol Nashville label.

Bentley’s single “What Was I Thinkin’” took off, reaching No.1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and solidifying the record as certified Platinum by the RIAA.

From there, Bentley’s popularity flourished. His followup album, Modern Day Drifter, produced two No.1 singles, “Settle Down for Sundown” and “Come a Little Closer,” earning him the CMA Horizon Award for Best New Artist and the distinction of being the third youngest country artist to ever be asked into the prestigious Grand Ole Opry.

Bentley, fresh from hosting the ACM Awards on April 2, is currently on tour for his most recent album, Black. For a flashback Friday, we’re highlighting Bentley’s performance of his hit song “Every Mile a Memory,” from his fourth album, Long Trip Alone.