Dierks Bentley, Quarantined in Colorado, Is ‘Just Kind of Living Right Now’
Dierks Bentley's Instagram dispatches from the novel coronavirus pandemic have grown sparser as the months have worn on: a snap from a recent mountain-biking adventure here, a nostalgic-for-live music shot there, an occasional promotional post for his daughters' radio show or the Hot Country Knights. He's been quarantining with his family in Colorado, and honestly, scrolling through his photos, it's not hard to imagine him just ... not coming back.
"[We're] kinda just here indefinitely, I guess ... happy to be out here right now," Bentley says over the phone from his hideaway in the Centennial State. His social media coordinator has been on him to post more often, "but I'm like, 'Ah, I'm kind of just living right now ... the world is taking a little bit of a break, and I think we are, too.'"
Bentley chuckles at the thought of taking an early retirement and making the mountains his permanent home, though. He's still got his two dozen band and crew members on his payroll and is "looking forward to getting back out with the band and crew when I can," he stresses.
"I'm just concentrating on the things I can concentrate on right now, which is my family," the singer adds of what he's jokingly calling a "mid-career retirement," albeit a forced one. "I'm writing a lot of songs ... just concentrating on my family and my kids and my music."
Bentley has mostly stayed away from livestreaming performances from home, but on Thursday (Sept. 10), he'll take part in the Tito's Made to Order: South virtual music festival, one of four events highlighting music from each quadrant of the country. The country star will play an acoustic, but fully produced set from "a pretty beautiful outdoor space" near his current home in Colorado.
"I'm looking forward to any opportunity to play live music ... Any chance to perform, certainly when it raises money for a great cause ... is awesome," he says. "It's not like a live show, but they've done a really great job ... of making something that I think fans are interested in watching."
As part of the Made to Order festival, Tito's Handmade Vodka is donating $100,000 to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés that responds to global crises with food for those in need, and encouraging viewers to donate, too. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, WCK has been paying restaurants to cook meals for people in need in their neighborhoods, and all money raised during the festival will support Black-owned restaurants doing that work.
"What a great concept," Bentley says of World Central Kitchen. He saw a 60 Minutes piece on the organization, so when this opportunity came up, it made "total sense" to get involved.
"It's an awesome thing to be part of," the singer says of the virtual festival, "and something we need to be doing more of 'cause I don't see us getting back onstage for real for a while."
Fans who tune into the event via TitosVodka.com or on the Tito’s YouTube channel will get a set full of hits, and maybe a cover or two, from Bentley. He's been writing new music and has even briefly gone back to Nashville to record some of it, but he knows that's not what people want from him right now.
As for when fans will get to hear that new stuff: Even Bentley himself isn't sure just yet. Lately, he's just been "play[ing] music for the love of playing music," taking his time and "trying not to rush into anything."
"[I want to] put music out that says something that's important to me ... I'm just trying to follow the muse, so I'm not working too much," he confesses, choosing instead to have a little fun. Hiking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, biking — it's all on the table. So is growing a mullet.
"I look like ... when was it that I had that long hair?" Bentley says. "That might be a surprise when fans see me."