Dierks Bentley Comes ‘Home’ With New Album

SLN Staff Writer • February 9, 2012 - 11:31 am

Family is the most important thing in Dierks Bentley’s life, and it’s apparent on his new album Home.

Though he spends about 200 days a year away from them, his wife and two little girls are still paramount in the singer’s life. “You never realize how painful it is to love someone until you have a kid and it just hurts in the best possible ways and in the worst possible ways that no heartache could ever, ever measure up to,” he says.

His first album in 2003 focused on romantic heartache – he asked his girlfriend to marry him, and she said no. “I was so heartbroken that I would be in the shower and my hair would fall out at my feet. I lost so much weight because I was so messed up over this one girl. It was classic country and western style,” he admits.

But now? “I’ve really never known heartache like this before, with a child,” he tells The Tennessean. “Now that the curtain’s been raised on that emotion and you can see what life is all about, it amplifies everything you do. The songs you play, the songs you write, [that emotion] affects your soul in a weird way. Every moment away from my house has to be huge.”

And it’s that commitment to his family that’s fueling Home, which even has a track featuring his oldest daughter, 3-year-old Evie. As a birthday surprise to her husband, his wife Cassidy brought Evie to the studio to record the ending chorus for the final song on the album, “Thinking of You.”

“We had to bring a mop into the control room,” Luke Wooten, the album’s producer, jokes about Cassidy’s reaction. However, she wasn’t the only one affected – “I can’t even listen to it without [Evie] being near me because it’s too painful to listen to alone,” Dierks reveals.

Home isn’t just tear-jerking ballads – there are plenty of hit singles fans of Dierks will be happy to hear. His last project, the bluegrass Up on the Ridge, kept him out of the country music spotlight for a while, but Home should bring him right back in.

Wade Jessen, the senior chart manager for Billboard in Nashville, has high hopes for the album’s success. “It’s immediate buy-in from the listeners,” he says about “Am I the Only One,” the lead single that hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. “They don’t have to decide whether they like it or not.”

Even “Home,” the patriotic eponymous track of the album, isn’t banking on the in-your-face nationalism some songs tend to have. “’Home’ makes powerful emotional statements that I think everyone can agree with,” Jessen says. “[It] is such a powerful song because it’s not one of those jingoistic kinds of songs with all sorts of chest beating and bluster where you are immediately forced to choose sides.” Inspired by the Tucson, Arizona shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Dierks says the song is about “a sense of being and memories of the country. Everybody’s idea of America is a little different.”

The album took over a year to write and record, with Dierks co-writing six out of the twelve tracks. “I feel like this record really forced me to find exactly what my brand is when it comes to country music. I wrote more songs than I’ve ever written. I wrote with a wider range of songwriters than I’ve ever written. I dug in more than I ever have. I look back at 2011 and it was a really busy, great, hard year,” he admits. And he was busy – he ultimately recorded enough songs for two albums. “It was great for the music but hard on the family because I would come off the road and was just working,” he adds.

His girls don’t usually follow him on tour, but he gets in time with them whenever he can. “You just try and find ways. It’s what it’s all about right now. Cass has done a lot of [parenting] on her own. She’s the one who gets to see the little moments, and I hate missing them,” he confesses.

Dierks is currently on tour to promote Home, which was released on February 7. Be sure to order your copy now!

-Kathryn Paulson, CMIL Intern