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Six Pack of Pop: Country music star Dierks Bentley

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Six Pack of Pop: Country music star Dierks Bentley
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Six Pack of Pop: Country music star Dierks Bentley

Country star Dierks Bentley celebrated his 38th birthday three days after performing a pre-race concert before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The singer-songwriter has had 10 career No. 1 singles on the country charts, including "What Was I Thinkin'", "Sideways", "Am I the Only One" and "Home."

Bentley is a big NASCAR fan and counts Sprint Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne among his friends in the sport. At Homestead, Bentley discussed his enjoyment of NASCAR, his latest single and his forthcoming album, "Riser."

On being a NASCAR fan and his connection to the sport:

A lot of friends, a lot of great drivers. I think the more you follow NASCAR, the more you get into it, the more you just kind of root for a great race. ... When you first get into the sport, you have one (driver) that kind of brings you in. Now, a lot of guys out there I am pulling for.

On the genesis of his single "I Hold On":

Every record is special and you kind of go through a transformation in making them. When I started making this record, my dad had passed away, so that was about a year and a half ago. And I started thinking about how he and I drove out to Nashville together when I was 19 in this 1994 Chevy truck which I still drive, y'know. I made a bunch of money and could afford a new truck and had car dealerships offer me free trucks, but I still drive the same truck with 200,000 miles on it. It's the only car I own. And I was like 'why do I still drive that same truck?'

There are a lot of things I hold to, whether it's the truck, my guitar that's got a big hole in it from playing it so much, our tour bus out here which is probably the oldest tour bus in this entire infield, has over a million miles on it. I've put all one million miles on that bus on it myself. I just kind of like things that have character and history to them and the song is kind of about that. It takes these personal vignettes in my life, my truck, my guitar, and ties them into bigger things. The chorus is about faith, love and freedom. I am pretty proud of it as a songwriter and fans seem to connect to it.

On playing before the season's final race at Homestead:

This is awesome. ... Y'know, we have been off the road for a little bit and Nashville is a little chilly right now. It's just great to be in Miami, certainly to be at the last race. When this opportunity came up, it was one of those things you are excited to be a part of and to get down here. We are also going to be out in Vegas for the championship, so it's a nice tie-in to be out here for the last race and also be out there in December. Just a great day. As a fan to get down here, get a chance to sing, play music and also watch the race. It was a great opportunity and I'm just thankful to be here.

On his hope to one day drive a stock car:

I've watched it on television. ... You really can get a good feel for it. I just took a lap in the pace car and I wish I could have taken it for a spin. I think I could do all right. I had go-karts as a kid and I raced them, so I think it be comparable (laughs). No, even just being in the pace car, sitting shotgun, going into the corners, going whatever speed we were going. I think in the backstretch we were going 140 and under 100 in the corners. Even that, you could feel the "G's" and feel the pull and I could see how it would be pretty exhausting after doing that for real, three times the speed with other cars around you all day long. ... I've talked to Kyle Petty about getting in the car and trying to do something. It's just hard man, with our schedule, being on the road 150-200 days a year and then three kids. Somewhere down the road, I'd really love to do it. It'd be fun.

On the most difficult part of making a record:

I think editing. The words you don't use. The songs you don't include. It's cutting it out and trying to make it feel like an album. In today's world, which is buying tracks, I think the album form?obviously this is a biased opinion, but I think country music is one of the last places where you really can make an album and your fans believe it when you say you're making an album and not just a collection of hits produced by six different producers that you find in the pop world.

On what it's like to learn from someone the impact a song has had on them:

You meet those fans and that's what fuels you. Bumped into a couple out here that were wearing my stuff and they come out here and they are sweating, they're sunburned, but they're excited to be here and you use that little extra boost, not that you even need it. What we do does matter and these songs get woven into the thread of people's lives. I am a fan, too. I got songs that do the same thing for me. It really is important and I take myself really seriously for the hour-and-a-half on stage and be what I'm needed to be. ... I take it seriously because people have invested a lot of time, money and chunks of their life in our career and these songs that we write, so it's special. It really is. It's a special relationship with the fans.?

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