Madison Vain
January 22, 2018 at 08:00 AM EST

Dierks Bentley is hitting the road — and he’s bringing CMA Vocal Duo of the Year winners Brothers Osborne and breakout country band Lanco with him. EW is thrilled to exclusively reveal the 2018 Mountain High Tour, kicking off May 17 in Columbia, Maryland and wrapping in October, 40 cities later.

To announce the run, Bentley channeled a granola-y shaman alter-ego and headed out into the woods with his opening lineup as well as director and frequent cohort Ryan Silver to film a hilarious bit that sees Bentley guiding his crew through an epically messy hallucination trip. “I didn’t take it for granted that I had six or seven hours to pretend like I’m a shaman,” Bentley tells EW of his commitment to the clip, streaming above. “I was in full character.”

The singer says he wants fans to know they should expect a similar vibe come summer — well, sort of. “It’s not going to be a big iowaska session,” he explains, laughing, “but it will be a lot of hangs and a lot of fun. The message is that we’re up for anything and we’re genuinely excited to spend time together.”

Revelry is on the back burner for the time being, though, as Bentley is wrapping up final edits on The Mountain, his anticipated ninth studio LP, due out later this year, and prepping for his hours-long nightly sets. “I’m fascinated by energy,” he says of his measured approach. “And on tour, it’s a battle between me and the road. I’m always fighting that to try and make it so that when I walk on stage at 9:30 p.m. I’m peaking with energy.” So far in 2018, he’s spent all of January sober and he’s kicked up the intensity of both his workouts and diet. “It’s all the ying and yang and right now, I’m yinging so hard,” says Bentley, “so that when summer rolls around, I’m all stored up with energy. I owe it to the band, the crew, myself, and to the fans.”

Laughing, he adds, “When we come out for tour, I’m like more excited than the crowd — I’m like, ‘I’m more excited than you are, because I haven’t been doing sh— for months! This is my chance to party!’ And when I’m on stage, I’m ready to give it everything, more than I’ve ever given, because I’ve been saving up for this moment and it means a lot to me.”

While specific dates have yet to be released, Bentley has settled on several new songs to fold into the nightly setlist. “I feel like I’ve reached a place where I can take more chances,” he says, adding that a not-yet-released The Mountain cut will likely open the show. “It’s like I’m back to where I was when I first started touring — where you have no choice but to take chances because you’re trying to carve out your own niche. Now, we’ve had so much success and the only way to keep it interesting for me and the band is to keep taking chances.”

The first round of tickets to select cities will be available on Friday, Jan. 26 as part of Live Nation’s Country Megaticket.

2018 MOUNTAIN HIGH TOUR STOPS:

Columbia, MD
Holmdel, NJ
Philadelphia, PA
Cincinnati, OH
Detroit, MI
St. Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
Pittsburgh, PA
Indianapolis, IN
Bethel, NY
Darien Center, NY
Saratoga Springs, NY
Raleigh, NC
Charlotte, NC
Alpharetta, GA
Salt Lake City, UT
Virginia Beach, VA
Bristow, VA
New York City, NY
Jacksonville, FL
West Palm Beach, FL
Tampa, FL
Austin, TX
Houston, TX
Dallas, TX
Albuquerque, NM
Phoenix, AZ
Mountain View, CA
Sacramento, CA
San Diego, CA
Los Angeles, CA

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