NASHVILLE, TN Tuesday Oct.4.2005 / -- Dierks Bentley was inducted into the world-famous Grand Ole Opry presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store last week by Opry member Marty Stuart.

Bentley made his Opry debut on April 18, 2003 and had been surprised with an onstage invitation to join the Opry at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in July.

After Bentley performed his current smash hit "Come A Little Closer," he was joined on stage by Stuart. "As country music has changed and grown through the years, the one thing that has remained steady is the Grand Ole Opry," said Stuart. "I am proud to introduce the newest member of the Opry... Dierks Bentley."

Holding up his Opry member award that had just been presented to him by Opry general manager Pete Fisher, Bentley said, "this here is the ultimate backstage pass. Maybe I could get this on a laminate? I share this honor with these guys behind me who ride the bus. Thanks!"

MORE - During the induction which aired live on "Grand Ole Opry Live" on GAC: Great American Country, Bentley was presented the Opry Member Award, a 14-inch bronze and oak wood replica of the Opry's vintage microphone stand designed by renowned sculptor Bill Rains. A portion of the trophy's wooden base recreates the famed circle of wood taken from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Opry from 1943-74, and placed in the stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. The wood used, which was derived from Ryman pews, became available following the Ryman's restoration in 1994. The award has been presented to each Opry member.

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