Dierks Bentley Dishes on His New Album The Mountain: 'I Wanted to Create Our Own Sound'
Even though he sings on stage in front of millions of fans, Dierks Bentley isn’t afraid of a little karaoke.
During the iHeartRadio Country Album Release Party celebrating his new album The Mountain, the “Burning Man” singer revealed that his go-to karaoke song is a song by one of his first heroes.
“I usually don’t do karaoke that much anymore because my voice is gone the next day,” he tells PEOPLE. “But ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol would be my go-to.”
Bentley is no stranger to small stages, having started his career playing gigs at small bars and restaurants in Nashville. Now, the “Drunk on a Plane” singer sells out stadiums and performs at awards shows, but karaoke and smaller gigs are what taught him the intimacy he brings to the stage.
“You learn to play with people right in your face. You can’t avoid them. You can’t hide from them,” Bentley says. “They’re usually drunk and they’re yelling out song requests and you have to learn to deal with that. It becomes like a contact sport more than just this thing where you’re singing over the tops of their heads. When you get into big arenas, you have to try to take that same energy you had playing in the honky-tonks and the rock bars, and transfer it to places like Madison Square Garden, where we’ll be Sept. 8.”
In creating his most recent album The Mountain, Bentley wanted to produce a different type of sound, so he flew his crew and collaborative musicians, like country duo Brothers Osborne, out to Colorado to write and produce the tracks. The title track of the album was one of the first they cut, and the one Bentley is most proud of because it set the vibe for the rest of the record.
“I wanted to create our own sound, Bentley says. “I was like ‘Oh we got something really unique happening’ and that was really cool, but at first it was also pretty scary.”
The 13-time Grammy nominee was admittedly nervous about revealing his music to the fans, but “the big reveal” is still what excites him most.
“I’ve had the music for a while. I’ve been working on it for a year, so this is the chance to see which songs are resonating,” Bentley says. “The biggest reward is feeling like people get what I was trying to do. This album is meant to be inspiring and it has a lot of themes of gratitude in it. Seeing how different songs impact people — that’s the most rewarding part, the fans’ response.”
On Monday, Bentley topped the charts with his hit song “Woman, Amen,” making it his 17th Number 1 single. He is currently touring across America on the 2018 Mountain High Tour.