Multiple-Grammy nominated country artist Dierks Bentley doesn’t fit Nashville stereotypes, and he’s happy about it. With a nearly two-decade career and 25 chart-topping singles, he’s written most of his homespun material himself (sidestepping the current knuckleheaded bro-country movement), and chosen to duet with female artists more often than men. As he’s gradually become an elder statesman, he’s gotten increasingly philosophical, spending much of his latest ninth effort “The Mountain” looking back on life lessons learned and ahead to the future with his wife and three kids. “One of the indirect benefits to what I do is that you actually get a chance to reflect on things, and no one has time to do that nowadays, with everyone so stressed out, trying to get by financially,” he says. “So I feel very grateful.”
Your new TV commercial for 5-Hour Energy drink shows you wearing crazy career hats, including painter … which looks like it might fit as a hobby.
I couldn’t paint a bird to save my life. My daughter Jordan, she’s the great artist, but I could not paint a thing. But hey! That means I’m a good actor, right?
So instead you hop in your Cessna Citation Mustang and fly solo?
Yeah. As my tour manager has watched somewhat nervously over the years. But there’s peace of mind in that. A lot of people are more comfortable having eyes on me, and a lot of artists love having people around them. But I don’t like having a retinue around me; I like to be alone as much as possible. It’s just the way I recharge.
What depletes your batteries?
When I step on site at a venue, I start talking to people around 4:45 in the afternoon. And the show is over at 11, but I do three shows in one: a bluegrass show at 6:45, a ‘90s country cover band at 7, and my real show after that. And then I end up talking to fans and hearing heavy stories about how someone has cancer, but one of my songs has changed their life. Things get tipped so far in the social direction, I have to tip the scales back. And being alone — back in the hotel room or flying — is one way to do that.
What amazing sights have you seen up there?
Just the country itself. I’ve seen it through the front window of a tour bus for millions of miles. And just flying from Chicago to Minnesota the other day, where it was all lush and forested and green, was just beautiful. I still keep looking for UFOs, though. But I haven’t seen one yet.
IF YOU GO
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $31 to $209