When I first met Dierks Bentley, it was in 2003. He was frequently included on all those “most eligible bachelor in Nashville” lists, and one of his biggest problems was random women coming up to him in public and touching those “glorious” curls on his head.
He has different issues these days.
“I’m usually the last one awake in the morning because I’m so tired. Usually the girls start jumping up and down on my head, using me as a trampoline, yelling, ‘Wake up, Dad!’”
Those girls would be Evie, 4, and Jordan, 2. He and wife, Cassidy, also are expecting their first son later this year.
“Man, having a family and settling down changes everything. As far as your live shows and records, it makes you focus more on your music. You’re making that sacrifice being away from your family, you want to make it worthwhile,” Bentley said.
Besides preparing for his son’s arrival, Bentley is marking 10 years in the music business and releasing his seventh album, “Riser,” in the fall.
Since I met him shortly after he hit No. 1 with his first single, “What Was I Thinkin’,” Bentley has gone on to reach the top of the charts with nine other singles in the past decade.
“I still remember having that one hit and trying to figure out where to put it in the set list. Are we going to put it at the end, the middle, or the beginning? To draw up a set list every night now, and have to leave some of the hits off, it just blows my mind.”
Fans around the area will have a couple chances to see Bentley in the weeks ahead. He’ll be headlining a show at Country Concert in Fort Loramie, Ohio, on Friday, July 12.
A week later, he’ll be at the inaugural Faster Horses Festival in Brooklyn, Mich.
Besides hauling out his collection of hits, Bentley is looking forward to trying out some of the new material from “Riser.” The first single, “Bourbon in Kentucky,” is an angst-filled, powerful story of a man trying to deal with the loss of a love. Kacey Musgraves provided the backing vocal on the track.
Most of the new record was written and recorded last year during the period when his father, Leon, passed away. Bentley wants to assure his fans that there’s still plenty of fun stuff on the record, but his father’s death definitely affected the tone of the record.
“His death kind of opens my eyes to that feeling of grief, loss that I hadn’t really experienced before,” Bentley said. “But the thing about my dad is that he was 88 years old. He lived a good life. It’s kind of the natural order of things to have a dad pass away before his son.”
After 10 years, Bentley feels blessed to be where he’s at — in his personal life and career.
“I feel really successful on every level. It’s been a long, hard ride, but I still have a ways to go.”
Country Concert runs from July 11-13. Jason Aldean will be headlining on Thursday night, Bentley on Friday, and Brad Paisley on Saturday. More information can be found at country concert.com.
The Faster Horses Festival takes place July 19-21. Bentley closes on Friday night, Luke Bryan on Saturday, and Aldean on Sunday. Further details can be found at fasterhorsesfestival.com.
Brian Dugger’s column on country music appears in The Blade the last Saturday of every month. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.