For a little more than 10 years, country music superstar Dierks Bentley has owned his share of success. Seven studio albums, a live record, a greatest hits disc, 11 No. 1 singles and more gold and platinum than a jewelry store will do that.
His latest album, “Riser,” was released in late February but already has two No. 1 hits with “I Hold On” and “Drunk on a Plane.” Bentley will bring his RISER Tour to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va., on Saturday.
Bentley said recording “Riser” was an unbelievable experience.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into when I first started working on it,” Bentley said. “Life came along and just delivered all the information I guess I needed to write the songs.”
Bentley faced extreme highs and crushing lows while getting songs ready for the album. His father passed away in 2012. A little over a year later, Bentley and his wife, Cassidy, welcomed their third child — their first boy — Knox, to the world.
“I was able to find good substance and work with good producers,” Bentley said. “I just tried to get as much of me as I could on the album. In the end, it was a very rewarding experience.”
The RISER Tour, which kicked off May 9 in Charlotte, N.C., features three up-and-coming country stars opening for Bentley – Chris Young, who won the “Nashville Star” competition on USA Network; Chase Rice, who co-wrote a No. 1 song for Florida Georgia Line and was the runner up on “Survivor: Nicaragua”; and Jon Pardi, who has a top-10 song on his debut album.
With this being Bentley’s 14th tour, it’s easy to see why the younger guys would want to learn as much from the seasoned veteran as possible.
“I’m there for whatever advice they’d want or whatever they can glean from all my years of doing this,” Bentley said. “I love helping out. I love offering advice and seeing these guys go out there. The reason I have these guys on the tour is because they’re hungry. I want guys who want to hit the stage every night hard and go out there and make new fans. … They’re also great guys to hang out with off stage as well. So yeah, anything I can teach them is great and there’s always going to be some stuff I learn from them, too. It goes both ways.”
Maybe because of that, Bentley has said he is more excited about this tour than any of his previous tours. Of course, having top billing might have something to do with it, as well.
“This is the first time we’ve gotten to headline a major tour,” Bentley said. “This is our tour and this is our time. The guys in the band have been working so hard for this moment. Just to go out there and have all these songs and the productions … it’s really sort of come together over the past few years and it feels really good. That first night, I can’t wait to go out there and peek behind the wall and see people coming in and seats filling up. I’m going to be over the top. It’s going to be crazy.”
With three little ones at home, going on big nationwide tours can be difficult. Bentley said he feels that because he’s giving up time with his family, his shows are a lot better now.
“We always have a big huddle on stage before the show and I tell the guys, ‘You know, there are a lot of people at home who are making a big sacrifice for us to be here,’” Bentley said. “‘We’re making a sacrifice being away from our children to be here. We have to go in and make this show big. Put in 120 percent. We have to put out a lot to make this worthwhile.’”
For those who are familiar with Bentley’s songs but not his shows, he said fans will get a kick out of his live performance. Whereas in his previous tours he’s relied mostly on his overwhelming stage presence, now he adds video projections and other elements to make for an all-out concert experience.
“I kept the crowds’ attention through a lot of physical movement,” Bentley said. “I started moving around more on stage to really bring them in. I’d jump off stage and run out into the crowd – they’re laughing and drinking beer – just whatever to keep that energy at a high level. I still do that stuff, but now I have the added element of video, which has been a fun thing we’ve included in our show.”
Bentley said everything he does revolves around a live show. He wants fans to enjoy his music, but he also wants them to experience that live interaction.
“I feel like I’m making my best records right now and I’m putting more time — more time than I thought I could — into songwriting and the albums,” Bentley said. “I’m just trying to make the best albums I can possibly make. At the end of the day, man, there are a lot of people out there spending money to go to these concerts … I just hope I have something in my show every night that helps someone get through a hard time or helps them have fun or blow off some steam, because it’s so needed.”