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Jon Pardi

Dierks Bentley in pursuit to be country's best

Dierks Bentley in pursuit to be country's best

For years, country star Dierks Bentley had a hand in writing every song on his albums. But on more recent records, he pushed his pride aside and embraced singing tracks by others.

It’s a sign the 41-year-old Arizona native has matured as an artist, as well as a practical decision. Sometimes, other musicians simply have the better tune.

“It’s about wanting to be the best, man. I want to be known as someone who makes albums,” Bentley said recently on the phone from his Nashville, Tenn., home.

His choice of albums over hits was deliberate. A year after releasing his eighth studio album, “Black,” Bentley is in the early stages of writing the follow-up, uncertain of where...