The country star says, “I’ve tried to change, grow, and get better at what I do, but at the end of each day, I’m the exact same guy I’ve always been. I just make music that makes me feel good.” Dierks Bentley has never thought of himself as someone who knows everything.
“I always remind my children that I believe in ‘I don’t know,'” the 47-year-old country star told in a recent interview with a laugh. “That’s fine.” In fact, the multi-platinum singer-songwriter had also made a career out of letting go of the creative wheel and letting the music take him where it will.
Dierks Bentley says, “I don’t know how an album will ever sound.” “I don’t think I have to try to explain it. I just live on the uncomfortable edge of not knowing what will happen next. It’s not fun, but that’s where everything good comes from.”
In 2020, when Bentley was in the middle of this uncertainty, his touring career had stopped because of a pandemic, and he was also at a sort of personal and professional high point. When Bentley went into the production company for the first time to record his new album Gravel & Gold.
He says, “I was living in Colorado, and all I knew for sure was that I wanted to stay there.” “I remember being offered the song “Gone,” and when my wife, Cassidy, heard it, she really liked it. So I cut it, but I wasn’t really thought about music at all at this point.”
He was thinking about staying a little longer in Colorado. “My wife and some of my kids wanted to come back, but we live in a democracy in my residence,” laughs Bentley, who got his first publishing deal in 2001 as well as released his first album in 2003.
“When I got back, I realized that I had missed Nashville a lot.” In fact, Bentley tells that the move not only helped him rediscover the city that made him a great nation superstar with hits like “Somewhere on a Beach” and “5-1-5-0,” but it also helped him rediscover the stories he wanted to tell through his music.
The lyrics of “Gold” now tell one of those stories. Bentley says that his current hit single, “Gold,” which he wrote with Luke Dick, Ashley Gorley, and Ross Copperman, is really about how your mood can change how you see something. “If you look at it the right way, gravel can be as valuable as gold.
That’s where my mind really was.” Bentley also went in some intimately acquainted directions on Gravel & Gold because of this frame of mind. For example, songs like “High Note” and “Old Pickup” have bluegrass elements, and “Old Pickup” is a traditional country song.
“Everyone sings concerning them, yet all of them have brand-new trucks,” Bentley says, taking a light shot at some of his Nashville friends. “I do have a bench seat in my pick-up truck. My dad and I used my Rand McNally map when we drove from across the country for the first time.” He laughs out loud.
“But really, the whole album is about the melody ‘Same Ol’ Me,'” says Bentley of the honest song he wrote with Dick and Jon Randall. “The more you go, sometimes that’s where you end up. This album is very similar to my first album. In a way, it feels like everything has come full circle.”
This is true not only of his music but also of his whole life. “I moved about 10 minutes from downtown than I was before, but yeah, I now live somewhere with major thoroughfares,” Bentley says with a laugh about his new Nashville home, which is no longer behind any kind of gates.
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“It looks like any other neighborhood. We have kids who come and go, and you can just park on the street. It’s been great for my kids, for our family, and for my mental health.” Even better, Bentley can ride his bike to shows.
“When I decided to move back to Nashville, I felt like I had to get involved or leave,” says Bentley. “I just lean into it now. The city is a mess. It’s getting out of hand, and I could sit here now and complain about it, or I could just lean into it and enjoy some of the pretty awesome things that are happening.”
His music is the same way. “I’ve tried to change, grow, and get better at what I do, but at the end of the day, I’m still the same man I’ve always been, making music that makes me feel good,” he says. “I have nothing to lose,” he said.
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