‘Gold’ on the road: Dierks Bentley still loves touring, songwriting and playing music

‘Gold’ on the road: Dierks Bentley still loves touring, songwriting and playing music

David Bowie once quipped, “I wouldn’t know a hit song if it slapped me in the face.”

Dierks Bentley says that is a good quote.

Since his career started in 2001, Bentley has garnered 22 hit songs, more than 8 billion streams, three CMA Awards, 15 Grammy nominations and membership in the Grand Ole Opry, but even after his massive success, he admits that you never know what will take off.

“If someone could invent that technology, it would make a lot of money,” Bentley says. “There’s a difference between a No. 1 song and a No. 1 song that really like moves the needle.”

He points to his song “Something Real,” off his latest album, 2023’s “Gravel and Gold.” He thought that single would be a huge hit, but it didn’t get the same numbers as his songs like “Drunk on a Plane,” or “What Was I Thinking” or even his single, “Gold,” from his latest album.

“You never know,” he says with a shrug and moves on to his recent cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” Petty’s song didn’t even chart in the U.S. when it was originally released in 1976. Now it’s a staple of Petty’s catalog and beloved by millions.

Bentley says it passes his litmus test — a song that you can sing busking on Lower Broadway in New York City and come away with money.

“Can you be down there playing for tips and play the song and have it work?” he asks. “That song definitely checks that box.”

He’s impressed too with how well his banjo and mandolin-infused take “American Girl” crossed over to country music.

“I can’t believe it’s on country radio!” Bentley enthuses. “It seems to be working pretty well. It’s pretty fun.”

The song is featured on a forthcoming tribute album, “Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty,” to be released by Big Machine Records in partnership with the Tom Petty Estate.

“I loved his music, loved his spirit. I loved the story and the fact that his band was a big part of his sound,” Bentley says. That’s something he relates to as his band is a big part of his sound and stage show.

“They’re not hidden behind me,” Bentley says. “They’re all up there with me, toes across the front of the stage and engaged in the crowd. It’s a big part of our show.”

His band includes Charlie Worsham on mandolin, Ben Helson on guitar, Cassady Feasby on bass, Dan Hochhalter on fiddle, Steve Misamore on drums and Tim Sergent on steel guitar/banjo.

It’s been 20 years since he released his self-titled debut album, and Bentley says he’s still having fun.

“There’s times I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since that album came out. Then I go on tour with my guys and our fans and the whole circus out there, and it is still feels brand new. It’s a weird ride,” he says.

“I still love being on stage and being on the road, and I’ve somehow been able to keep that sense of joy and wonder alive every time my boots hit the stage,” he says. “I don’t think there’s anyone out there touring with a band — whether they’re brand new or have been doing it for a long time — that really enjoys it more than I do. Maybe equally.”

Every night, he says, is unique.

“I’m not putting on some sort of show. It’s really just something that we’re all going through together, and it always feels new to me, and it’s different in so many big and small ways each night. [It’s] exciting and just fun overall. That’s why I still do it.”

Perhaps a bit of that spirit is reflected in his song “Gold” from his latest album.

“It might be gravel, but it feels like gold,” he says. “Looking at everyday life is all about perspective. You can look at something and take it as a negative or you can look at and take it as a positive. It’s just about the power of perception.”



Dierks Bentley:

Gravel and Gold Tour

WHEN — 7 p.m. June 8

WHERE — Walmart AMP in Rogers

COST — $29.75 & up

INFO — amptickets.com

BONUS — Bentley is joined on the tour by Chase Rice and Zach Top.

Categories: Music