Dierks Bentley Experiences ‘Surreal’ Moment Playing Tom Petty’s Guitar In New Video For His ‘American Girl’ Cover

The song will appear in a forthcoming Tom Petty tribute album.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 21, 2024


4:23 pm

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Dierks Bentley; Photo by Zach Belcher

Dierks Bentley straps on Tom Petty’s own signature Rickenbacker guitar in the new music video for his free-spirited cover of the musical icon’s classic, “American Girl.”

Premiering today, the Wes Edwards-directed video finds Bentley delivering a bluegrass-inspired rendition of the 1976 tune that was penned by Petty and produced by Jon Randall. While strumming on Petty’s guitar, which was flown in from his archives in California just for this shoot, the country singer hones in on the message to maintain optimism throughout life while illustrating the journey of one woman’s fight to chase her dreams.

“Well, she was an American girl/ Raised on promises/ She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there/ Was a little more to life/ Somewhere else/ After all it was a great big world/ With lots of places to run to/ Yeah, and if she had to die tryin’/ She had one little promise/ She was gonna keep,” Bentley sings on the opening verse. 

He continues, “Oh yeah, alright/ Take it easy baby/ Make it last all night/ She was an American girl.”

Watch The “American Girl” Music Video

YouTube video

A Golden Hour Jam Session

Filmed at Nashville venue Clementine, the performance-style video centers around Bentley and his band members (which includes Charlie Worsham) coming together just as the sun sets, thus creating the perfect golden-lit backdrop. Together, they offer a gritty delivery of “American Girl” that emulates the same kind of joy and warm energy that Tom Petty and his band, the Heartbreakers, had when playing their music. The jam session featuring sounds of the banjo, mandolin and guitar is intertwined with Americana images portraying travel adventure and traditions. Other iconic articles from Petty’s archive, including instrument cases and concert memorabilia were also featured in the scenes. 

“Holding an instrument that carries so much musical history and significance was surreal, you could almost feel the stories resonate from it as I played it,” Bentley shared. “Tom Petty’s lyrics and delivery were a huge part of what made his music so impactful.”

Dierks Bentley - American Girl Video
Dierks Bentley – American Girl Video

Major Impact At Country Radio

Upon its impact on airwaves, Dierks Bentley’s version of “American Girl” was named the Most Added song of the week on Country radio. It also landed at No. 25 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in its second week and has garnered more than 3.4 million streams.

Over the years, the fan-favorite song by the 15-time GRAMMY nominee and Rock & Roll Hall inductee has been used as the soundtrack to many pivotal, true American events like Hillary Clinton’s campaign rallies and the 2008 Super Bowl halftime show. Now, it will be celebrated as the lead single for Big Machine Records’ forthcoming tribute album, PETTY COUNTRY: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty. 

The official track list and release date for PETTY COUNTRY: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty will be announced in the coming weeks.

Dierks Bentley - American Girl
Dierks Bentley – American Girl

Gravel And Gold Tour

Dierks Bentley is preparing to hit the road for his Gravel and Gold Tour, which is set to kick off June 7 in Fort Worth, TX, and run through September 21 with the final show being in Milwaukee, WI. 

Chase Rice and Lee Brice will serve as direct support on the run in addition to a diverse lineup of special guests that includes Graham Barham, Tyler Braden, Kaitlin Butts, Mae Estes, Ella Langley, Randy Rogers Band, Zach Top, Tanner Usrey, Bella White and more. 

For more information and to buy tickets, visit Dierks.com.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.