Dierks Bentley recently released a new single, “Gone,” but he’s going to keep fans waiting for a full album. Despite spending his unexpected downtime with his family — his wife Cassidy and their three children, Evelyn, Jordan and Knox — in Colorado, the singer admits that he’s feeling quite a bit of pandemic-induced anxiety, which makes inspiration hard to come by.
Besides, Bentley isn’t exactly keen on the idea of another socially distanced album release.
“I just put an album out with the Hot Country Knights, and it was just a big — nothing even happened. We didn’t get to do anything … The whole taking it on the road, the whole process of releasing the album … the work, the excitement, the fun of doing that, just — poof, nothing,” Bentley points out.
The ’90s-inspired country group (Bentley and his band in period-perfect costumes and wigs, for the uninitiated) moved forward with their original plans to release their first album, The K Is Silent, on May 1, but their plans for a tour and other public appearances had to be scrapped.
“The idea of doing that again? That doesn’t make me very excited at all,” Bentley admits. “I’d rather wait until we can actually go out there and do the work and see the people and have fun and do it the way it’s supposed to be done.”
Still, he has been doing some musical work in recent months. Writing via video chat, he confesses, is “not ideal … but you’ve still got to do it.”
“We’re all making sacrifices right now,” he points out. “I think it’s fun at first. It’s really efficient … I don’t think that should ever be the goal, right? But it is kinda nice.”
He and his collaborators have composed “a lot of COVID-y kind of songs” that way, Bentley reveals, even sharing a few lines of a co-write with Ross Copperman and Ashley Gorley, “What a Year”:
What a year, what a year, what a year it’s been / Lost and made some new good friends / World came to a stop, started spinnin’ again / Tastes a little sweeter when I breathe it in.
“It’s looking back on what we’re all going through … that collective pain,” Bentley explains. “But sometimes I think about: Do fans really wanna hear that? Maybe, but they also might just wanna hear a song that’s not so much about what a year it’s been.”
To Taste of Country Nights, Bentley adds that he’s adopting Keith Urban’s strategy of recording and releasing music as it’s ready, not necessarily saving it all up for an album.