CMT Insider: Dierks Bentley Talks About Getting “Sideways”

He and Longtime Collaborator Jim Beavers Score Their First No. 1 Single Together

Dierks Bentley and Jim Beavers have written hits before, but they’d never written a No. 1 single together until Bentley’s recording of “Sideways” topped the Billboard country singles chart. They talked to CMT Insider during an interview at a recent No. 1 party on Nashville’s Music Row.

The longtime songwriting collaborators almost topped the chart in 2004 with Bentley’s single, “How Am I Doin’.” Ultimately, though, it peaked at No. 4. After the many hours they’ve spent writing songs together, it turned out that “Sideways” was one of the easiest songs they’ve come up with.

“This one means a lot because Jim and I have written a lot of songs together,” Bentley said. “We’ve spent a lot of time pounding our heads against the wall and trying to come up with some good stuff. It’s funny how the one we wrote the quickest became a No. 1 song. For us to celebrate our first No. 1 together, that’s really a special thing.”

Regarding the song’s subject, Bentley said, “For me, getting sideways does involve a few drinks. Not all the time. … You’ve been through the straight and narrow all week, and now it’s time to be getting loose and loud — whatever takes me to get sideways and have a good time.”

Bentley came up with the initial idea for the song.

“That chorus kind of got stuck in my head,” he explained. “I didn’t have a guitar when I first started writing the song. I was on an airplane … writing this thing. I came back and told Jim about it. We busted out the guitars and put the rubber to the road on it.”

Both songwriters say the song is built around a strong musical groove.

“He had a cadence to that chorus,” said Beavers, who is the brother of Bentley’s producer, Brett Beavers. “He already had that, and he had a lot of the lyrics. When he said it, I said, ‘Why don’t you write that song?’ He’s like, ‘Dude, I don’t know what to do next.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll be happy to try to help you.’”

Regarding the No. 1 status, Bentley said, “It never does get old. … Every one means a little bit more than the one before because you never know how long the streak is going to stay alive.”