Dierks Bentley Toasts No. 1 at Neighborhood Bar

Co-Writers, ASCAP, BMI Celebrate "Every Mile a Memory"

Usually for No. 1 parties in Nashville, everybody heads toward Music Row for tiny sandwiches and free booze. But to celebrate his latest chart-topper, “Every Mile a Memory,” Dierks Bentley only had to cross the street to a bar in his neighborhood.

It has been reported that he lives in the area, but Bentley’s actual address may be as hidden as the billiards room above Sportsman’s Grille in the Hillsboro Village area. Even though Bentley wasn’t familiar with the snooker nook until the party was scheduled, he and his well-wishers gathered around the pool tables there Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 14) to celebrate the success of the hit song he co-wrote with Brett Beavers and Steve Bogard.

After the usual distribution of plaques and certificates, Bentley took the microphone and recalled the struggle of his label, Capitol Nashville, to knock Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” out of the No. 1 spot on Billboard‘s country airplay chart.

“I try not to get too caught up in the charts and all that stuff, but when a song goes Top 5, your interest peaks a little bit because you want to get a No. 1 like everyone else,” Bentley acknowledged. “I really thought it was a lost cause, but everyone at Capitol fought like apes to get it all the way up there — and it went to No. 1. It’s truly a feat. It’s amazing all the work that goes into that.”

“I lost my voice calling radio stations trying to do everything,” he said. With a mischievous grin, he joked, “I paid a lot of heating bills all over the country for certain radio programmers. … Oh, you guys didn’t know about that. … But it was a huge battle, but I am just really thankful to everyone at Capitol for making this No. 1.”

Bentley said he and his co-writers completed “Every Mile a Memory” on the same day as “Long Trip Alone,” the title track of his new album and now the second single.

“For the first single, you want to pick a song that’s honest and reflects how you were feeling, but you also want it do well on the charts, and more importantly, to sell some records when the record comes out,” Bentley explained. “‘Every Mile a Memory’ is a great song, and radio loved it. It’s a huge song, audience-wise, but I think the next song, ‘Long Trip Alone,’ will probably be more of a song that gets more people out there to go pick up the record.”

Bentley, who turns 31 on Monday (Nov. 21), said he’s filming a video for “Long Trip Alone” early next week.

Asked what the video will be like, Bentley said, “I’m going to jump back into the first-person character and do the acting-video thing because I feel like it’s an important song. The treatment asked for that, so I said, ‘All right.’ I was trying to get away from that, but I’m actually excited about doing it for this song. It tells a good story. It’s a really big song. It’s not just about a personal love. It’s bigger than that, and I want the video to be really big as well.”

Bentley and Beavers have been longtime collaborators, both as songwriters and in the studio. (Beavers is credited as the sole producer on all three of Bentley’s albums.) They have also written extensively with Bogard, including Bentley album cuts like “I Can Only Think of One,” “Is Anybody Loving You These Days” and “Down on Easy Street.” Bogard’s other writing credits include Reba McEntire’s “New Fool at an Old Game,” Patty Loveless’ “Jealous Bone,” Tanya Tucker’s “Hangin’ In,” George Strait’s “Carried Away” and “Carrying Your Love With Me,” Rascal Flatts’ “Prayin’ for Daylight” and Jack Ingram’s “Wherever You Are.”

During the party, Bentley deflected attention from himself and repeatedly mentioned that he wanted to hold the party as a way of saying thanks to Bogard for his friendship.

“For me, it’s definitely a celebration for Steve, a true Nashville success story,” Bentley told the crowd. “He’s a guy who used to put the electric bill in the gas envelope and the gas bill in the electric envelope to delay and stall for a little more time.”

To which Bogard interjected, “You’re giving my secrets away!”

After some laughs, Bentley added, “He’s had some success, and he’s a true Nashville success story. I’m thankful that he’s always there.”

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.