By Brian Ives
Country fans have loved Dierks Bentley for years, but this weekend, he’s about to reach a whole new audience when he co-hosts the ACM Awards with Luke Bryan. At the same time, he’s getting ready to release his next album, Black, and he’s preparing to headline a summer tour (with Randy Houser and Cam on the bill).
He spoke with Radio.com at the CBS This Morning studios recently about all of the above; he also speculated on whether or not he could ever have been in a band.
“Somewhere on a Beach” seems like something of a sequel to “Drunk on a Plane.”
I guess “Somewhere on a Beach” is a sequel to “Drunk on a Plane.” I wasn’t thinking about that when I recorded it, but the fans kind of picked up on that, and I thought, “OK, I can go there.” But the video is a total sequel to “Drunk on a Plane,” it picks up where that left off.
The last two singles off of Riser were “Say You Do” and “Riser,” kind of heavier songs, but I think at this time of year everyone wants to be somewhere on a beach.
“Riser” was nominated for Video of the Year at the ACMs, it’s one of the more meaningful songs of my career.
You co-wrote “Drunk,” and “Beach” was written for you. Were the writers of the song trying to write a sequel?
Possibly. The guys who wrote that, it’s five guys, they’re all super-young. It’s fun to be part of the whole circle of writing in Nashville. At one point, I was a new writer trying to get cuts, and now I’m in a position where I can give these five writers their first… I think it’s all of these guys’ first major single. But if they were [trying to write a sequel], they did a great job.
What else can you tell me about Black?
It’s kind of like a relationship-based record. “Somewhere on a Beach” is where you’re getting over somebody and you’ve got somebody new, but then it goes all the way to being in a long-term relationship, and some of the ups and downs that come with that. It’s a full-spectrum relationship record. I think anyone can relate to it, but at the same time, it’s deeply personal for me. I’m really excited about it.
You’re co-hosting the ACMs. Everyone knows you as a singer-songwriter and performer, but for this, you have to be funny, right? It’s a different skill.
There’s one thing to be a singer or songwriter, but to be entertainers is a whole different category. That’s why I love some of the legends of country music, they can entertain with or without a guitar, they’re just funny people. So it’s definitely a challenge; taking it on [isn’t] something I could just step into. I gotta put a little time into it, but I’m going to have a great time.
Last year, you and Eric Paslay were on Charles Kelley’s “The Driver.” You guys seem like a band; could you have ever been a band guy?
I have such tremendous respect for a band, because I’ve been in a band before, and it’s really hard. Any band, any genre, that sticks around for more than five years, I’m a big fan. I couldn’t be in one. I have huge respect for a band like U2, they find a way to make it work with four cooks in the kitchen. I love being part of a band, I love having a band around me, I love performing as if we were truly a band, but at the same time… it’s really hard. Someone has to call the shots.
Bruce Springsteen’s a great example: as a fan, I love seeing Springsteen, and watching the band play, and seeing how Bruce works with the band. It makes it a lot more fun then just watching one guy. At the same time, it’s “Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band,” probably for a reason.