One of the Valley's most successful native sons is coming back home for his second local concert this fall.
Dierks Bentley, the multi-platinum country music artist who grew up in Phoenix, will lead a motorcycle ride on Saturday, then give an outdoor concert at Tempe Marketplace. All of the money raised from the event will go to Phoenix Children's Hospital.
"I had a problem with my feet when I was born, and Phoenix Children's really helped me and my family out. Once I got to a place in my life where I had some celebrity currency built up and I could do something that would really help these kind of hospitals out, I wanted to do that," says Bentley, on the phone from a tour stop in Waterloo, Iowa, where he's just finished a pickup game of hockey.
Called Miles and Music for Kids, the benefit has traditionally been a fundraiser for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where Bentley has lived for more than a decade. This year, he's bringing the event to six other cities for the first time. In each city, proceeds will benefit a local Children's Miracle Network hospital.
Phoenix is the tour's first stop.
"The whole idea is to be really down home, really accessible and just have a good time and raise money for a good cause," he says.
A lifelong motorcycle fan (He drove a $600, 1982 Honda CX500 for years before being able to put money down on the bike of his dreams, a 2002 Harley-Davidson), Bentley will ride a loner from Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson. The dealership is the starting point for the ride.
"I believe I'm going to be on a Cross Bones, a newer Harley that's out. It'll be my first time on one of those bikes. They gave me a choice, so I thought I'd check one out," he says.
During the ride, fans will motor along with Bentley on their own bikes, taking a route to the concert, where Arizona artists Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and Jessi Colter, and Bentley's out-of-state friends Jimmy Wayne and Stoney LaRue, will also perform.
"I don't know what they're calling it out West, but in Tennessee they call it a down-home vibe. It's just going to be laid back, with good food and good music and yelling out song requests and bringing your friends up on stage with you. This isn't a traditional rock 'n' roll country show with lights and video," he says.
The award-winning vocalist will tour Phoenix Children's Hospital in the days leading up to the benefit.
"It's amazing to see these kids and their spirit. You're coming through there to entertain them and give them something to be excited about, but it's the other way around. They're the ones whose spirit really shines. The kids and the staff - they're angels. Just to be able to shake their hands, it means a lot."
Bentley plans to stay in the Valley through Thanksgiving, visiting with family who still live in town.