When Tenille Townes found out she'd been invited to join Dierks Bentley for his 2019 Burning Man Tour, the up-and-coming country singer was thrilled -- and a little confused. Townes had already released "Somebody's Daughter," the first single off of her forthcoming debut album, but she didn't have much of a connection to Bentley, so she wondered what it was about her that grabbed his attention.

"I'm still wondering that, to be honest!" Townes joked to The Boot and other media backstage at the 2018 ASCAP Country Awards. "I heard that he heard some music and reached out."

Townes got the good news while sitting in a dressing room with her manager, but she didn't get to speak directly to her tour boss-to-be that day. However, Bentley -- notorious for cultivating a close-knit family feeling out on the road -- broke the ice and gave her a call.

"He actually called me while I was sitting in a Whole Foods parking lot," Townes recounts with a laugh. "This was a little bit after I found out I was on the tour, but we hadn't met yet, so he just called to [say] hey. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm talking to Dierks Bentley! This is so cool!'

"But he's so kind," she adds. "He told me he's really excited for [the tour], and that meant the world coming from him."

Bentley has long been some she looks up to, Townes says, both artistically and in terms of how he fosters a connection with his fanbase: "His music, and his art, and just the way he connects to people on the road is such a unique thing," Townes goes on to say. "I can't wait to have a front seat to learn from that."

Plus, Townes adds, she's ready to share new music with audiences when the tour kicks off. "The record comes out [this year], and I cannot wait for it to get out there," she adds. "I had the most amazing time disappearing into the studio with Jay Joyce last year. I'm just really excited for this music to [be] out."

The 2019 Burning Man Tour, also featuring Jon Pardi and Bentley's '90s country cover band the Hot Country Knights, will launch on Jan. 17 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and include a string of Canadian dates before moving south into the U.S. for a lengthy springtime run. Visit Dierks.com for ticketing details.

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