updated 02/04/2009 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/05/2009 AT 9:30 AM ET
As new dad Dierks Bentley crosses the country to tour with buddy Brad Paisley this year, he tells PEOPLE he’ll have more than music on his mind.
“There’s no manual or blueprint for families who tour – I wish someone like Brad or Bono would write a book on how to make it work!” says the first-time father, who gives an exclusive peek at four-month-old daughter Evalyn Day in this month’s PEOPLE Country Special.
Bentley had to leave wife, Cassidy, and baby Evie for the first time when he hit the road last month, but says touring with fellow dad Paisley makes the separation bearable. “I don’t want to be away from them for more than three or four days and this is a pretty manageable tour. He does a few dates and then comes home.”
Still, the platinum-selling country star, who just released his new album Feel That Fire, knows what he could be missing. “There are just a billion firsts,” Bentley says of his new daughter, born Oct. 4. “She’s just perfect!”
Though he insists parenthood hasn’t ended his “regular dude” pastimes of playing hockey and having the occasional night out at the bar, these days he favors mornings at home. “It’s a great time – watching her go through the motions of waking up and recognizing you and smiling,” he says. “When she smiles, her whole body smiles.”
They’ll start, they say, with a lot of love for each other and for Evie. “Me and Cass, it’s still an ongoing love affair – now there’s just a little baby in there,” Bentley says.
For more on Bentley and more photos of Evie, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE and this month’s PEOPLE Country Special.
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