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Dierks Bentley’s ‘Home’ Helps Mark Arizona Centennial

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Arizona native Dierks Bentley‘s latest single, ‘Home,’ has been selected by the state’s Centennial Commission to serve as the official song for the Grand Canyon state’s 100-year celebration. Dierks is also set to return to his home state in February to serve as Honorary Chairman of the Arizona Centennial Motorcycle Ride.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, Dierks admits he “[mumbled his] way into a hook” and things weren’t much clearer by the time he reached the line, “the place we all call home.”

“[It was] like, ‘Wow, we’re definitely gonna bite off a big one here,’” Dierks says of writing the anthemic tune. “This is a tough song to finish the right way that isn’t polarizing, isn’t chest-beating, [but] is relatable to everybody. It’s such a diverse country, and you want something that reaches out to everybody. At the end of the day, when we were writing the song, once we started getting into it — you want this to be inspiring and hopeful, but also address the realities of what’s going on.”

Dierks acknowledges that a tragic event that occurred just days before he started writing the song definitely had an impact on him, both personally and as a songwriter.

“The first thing I thought of when we started writing it was the shooting that happened in Tucson, Ariz., with [U.S. Rep.] Gabby Giffords,” he explains. “That had happened about four days earlier. That, for me, my home state — that invokes so many different feelings of anger and questions of why. And also, of course, the healing process. It all came together in this song.”

While a number of patriotic country songs followed the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Dierks notes that many had an “us vs. them” tone. He says he was just hoping to pen something honest.

“It easy to sell something just saying, ‘We’re No. 1.’ It feels good but it’s not necessarily truthful or really helpful. But I think, in the end, it makes it honest. And country music has always been about honesty. That’s what makes it great.”

‘Home,’ is the second single from Dierks as-yet-untitled album due early next year. The announcement of the motorcycle ride follows news that the singer’s sixth annual Miles & Music for Kids in Nashville on Sunday (Oct. 16) raised $205,000 for Nashville’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dierks has now raised more than $2 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with Miles & Music events also held in Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Seattle, Atlanta, Columbus and Chicago.

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