NEW YORK – Dierks Bentley has had a lot to celebrate this year. The country crooner is this year's most-nominated male artist at the CMA Awards and was just announced as one of three headlining acts at New York City's first-ever country music festival.
Bentley spoke with FOX411 Country about the success of his album Riser, his favorite New York City memory (hint: it involves drinking beer) and how his song "Home" is a constant reminder of how country music unites fans across America.
FOX411 Country: You're nominated for five CMA Awards, you're headlining New York's Farmborough Festival, would you say this was a busy year?
Dierks Bentley: Well, I appreciate being included [and] we had a great year touring it's been our biggest year ever touring-wise...my career's just been growing one year at a time.
FOX411 Country: What's something your fans don't know about you?
Bentley: At this point, it'd be really hard, they kind of know everything. They know I love hockey...they know what I drink before I walk on stage every night. We kind of give them a lot of access...I'm wearing boxers today that's all I got. Some days, it's nothing.
FOX411 Country: You have a song called "Home" which you wrote after 9/11. Are you looking forward to singing that song in New York City at Farmborough?
Bentley: Every night I sing that song...definitely thinking about 9/11 and things that happened in New York. I sing it every night [on tour] and...the whole room comes together in that song. You know, we all have different home towns, home states, different teams but we all have one home, one country....it's a big song every night but certainly here in New York it'll be special.
FOX411 Country: What's your craziest New York memory?
Bentley: I've got good memories shotgunning a beer in the back of somebody's pickup truck outside of of the Bowery one year.
FOX411 Country: How do you keep the same connection you have with your audience at a small venue that you do at large arenas or at festivals?
Bentley: Well one of the cool things about these festivals....is that there's no VIP. So the hard core fans are down front so right away it feels like you're playing a smaller venue. It is a festival you can't hide that you're not playing at a smaller venue or a bar...just years of doing this and finding a way to connect with everyone in the crowd is something you learn to do.
FOX411 Country: How do you balance work with family life?
Bentley: The scales are a little tipped right now not a whole lot of balance. I'm a mess. I left my phone in the taxi last night. I have cars at multiple airports right now....I'm just scattered all over the place but I know once, our last show is December 15 so I'll have a month or two to kind of start putting stuff back together and piecing it but it's just the way it is.
FOX411 Country: We saw a lot of safety issues over the summer at country music festivals and concerts. Is safety a concern at Farmborough?
Bentley: It's not really a concern for me because I know the guys putting on [Farmborough], these guys aren't messing around. The thing about country music, the fans' safety is first and foremost always and we're always thinking about their experiences. I don't know about any other genres that's as appreciative of their fans as we are in country music they're treated with respect throughout the whole process and certainly looking out for their safety and make sure they have a great time but first and foremost, they're safe that's definitely top priority.
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