It has been nearly a decade since country music icon Dierks Bentley lost his father, Leon Bentley. The “Drunk On A Plane” singer took to social media Wednesday (June 1) evening to honor the 10th anniversary and to share a sequence of childhood throwbacks.
The black-and-white snapshots capture the father sneaking the hitmaker his very first beer on the beach. The artist was photographed smiling ear-to-ear, as the dad admired his son’s adorable response from afar.
To go along with the carousel, the multi-platinum artist reflected on their tight-knit relationship in the caption.
“Funny how a good cold beer has always had the same effect on me!” Bentley jokingly wrote. “Dad past away ten years ago today. Think about him every day. Find myself wanting a little more advice now than I wanted back then!” he declared.
He continued to mention that his father was the one who introduced him to country music early on and why he enjoyed the genre. According to Country 97.5, the two would take joy rides to listen to George Strait, Hank Williams, and Randy Travis on the radio.
“My dad is the one that initially turned me on to country music, just by listening to it in the car. I remember him saying he liked that even if you didn’t know the song, if it was written right, you could still sing along and guess some of the words,” he shared. “Miss him, wish the kids could have had a little more time with Granddude. Thanks for being a good dad…Dad!”
Following the sweet tribute, the country community sent their sincere condolences and to point out their resemblance.
“Awe, what a great memory and tribute,” shared musician Jessi Alexander. “You look so much like your dad. Sending love,” uttered a follower.
At 88-years-old, Leon Bentley passed away in Phoenix, Arizona. Shortly after his death in 2012, Bentley broke the news to his listeners via Twitter with a heartfelt message. At the time – Bentley canceled a string of performances, including a show in D.C., an appearance at the Washington Nationals’ baseball game, and a fan club party in Nashville during the CMA Music Festival.
“It was an honor to comfort him as he left us,” he said. “Thank you, fans, for the time and understanding.”
Leon was a second lieutenant in the Army and served in World War II. The award-winning artist told The Boot that his father was a proud veteran and appreciated his time in the military.
“I know he really enjoyed his time in the Army,” he told the publication. “He grew up in a town of 1200 people, and the Army was a chance to go overseas and see some of the world. He really enjoyed the men in his company and lost some friends over there. He doesn’t talk too much about that aspect of it, but he has nothing but good memories of being able to serve and be part of that.”
Shortly after his father’s death, Bentley released the No.1 tribute track, “I Hold On.” While grieving, Bentley penned the moving melody alongside Brett James. The Ross Copperman and Arturo Buenahora produced hit lives on Bentley’s seventh studio album, “Riser.” The singer-songwriter exclusively told CMT that other singles on the collection “Here On Earth,” “Bourbon In Kentucky,” and “Damn These Dreams” all remind him of his late father.
“It’s more of a snapshot of the past two years and not one particular moment that’s just about my dad,” he said in 2014 following the release of the project. “That would’ve been too dark. It would’ve been kind of a drag of a record, and he wouldn’t have wanted that.”
To this day, Bentley continues to perform the fan-favorite classics out on the road. The country crooner is currently on his headlining Beers On Me Tour with powerhouse vocalist Ashley McBryde and breakout star Travis Denning. Tickets are available for purchase, here.