Donn Jones, AP
For this project, the singer-songwriter took a different approach by choosing more songs that he didn't pen himself. "I've had 16 songs in a row on country radio that I've written or co-written," Dierks tells The Boot. "That's not a streak that I'm going for. I have so many friends in the songwriting community and so many musicians in this town that I respect, that I wanted to record as many outside songs as possible and hopefully have one of those songs be a single for somebody else. To have six songs on this record that were written by other writers is a source of pride for me. I'm excited for them."
Although, just because a tune has been written by someone the multi-platinum-selling singer knows or respects, that doesn't mean he'll record it. "You look for something that connects and something that fills a niche on the record that hasn't been filled yet," he explains. "That's one of the exciting things, is what's going on in Nashville. What's the rhythm of the writing community? You hear a lot of the production ideas, you hear a lot of popular song ideas, what people are trying to write. I was listening to country radio recently and thinking, 'That sounds just like the demo [I heard].' I feel like I had the inside scoop because I had been listening to so many songs. It forces you to look at your song and another song that might be like your song and go, 'You know what, that's a better song.'"
In addition to his first-week album success, Dierks was also named among GQ's Best-Dressed Men at the Grammys. His black crewneck and slacks, with a beaten-up leather jacket, put him in the same company as Bruno Mars, Mumford & Sons and LL Cool J.