When Dierks Bentley was putting together songs for his upcoming album Black, the follow-up to 2014's Riser, the singer says he wracked his brain trying to pick the record's first single.
"I have everyone coming at me: iTunes sales, song name of the tour, and they want it to do well at radio. . . I personally just like making records," says Bentley, who ultimately chose the off-the-rails summer jam "Somewhere on a Beach" as lead single. "I almost didn't put 'Drunk on a Plane' on [Riser]. I am really bad about picking these fun songs. Although I'm known for them, I don't gravitate toward them originally. I get caught up in the seriousness of the album and the story I'm trying to tell."
Although "Somewhere on a Beach," currently at Number 10 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs Chart, may announce the album, it's not representative of Black as a whole. Bentley compares it to reading a novel.
"I'm trying to write a book here, and you can't just read Chapter 7 and understand the whole album," he says, citing the LP's title track as one that captures the theme of the project. "If you were looking for a CliffsNotes version of the record, the song 'Black' would represent the album best. This is more of a relationship-based album, about love, and I tried to go a little bit darker on it and make it about the shadowy edges of love. And Black is my wife's maiden name, so there is some personal level to the album. I feel like 'Somewhere on a Beach' is the part of the story where you find a new girl and the lustful crazy stage of the spectrum, but [Black] gets downright lonesome on some other tracks."
Before Bentley launches both the album and his Somewhere on a Beach Tour this summer, he'll co-host the ACM Awards on April 3rd with Luke Bryan. It's all just part of the hustle, he says.
"I'm not really nervous about it. There is too much shit going on right now that I don't have time to be nervous. I have to turn the record in and I don’t want to miss any details. The songs keep evolving onstage. I want it to be clearheaded and get every last tweak in," he says.
"When it comes to the ACMs, I have a little bit of a crutch there with Luke," Bentley continues. "He's a good friend, and he's so funny. I don't think I can go too wrong, unless I walk out onstage without my clothes on. That'd be bad. . . or good."
The ACM Awards air live from Las Vegas on CBS, Sunday, April 3rd.