By Brian Ives
The male solo artist field in country music is a crowded one, so it’s always good to have someone extra in your corner. Ask Dierks Bentley, who has gotten a bit of feedback from U2 frontman Bono on his two most recent albums.
When his last album, Riser, was released in 2014, Bentley told Radio.com that Bono was drawn to his song “Here On Earth.”
“He loved the song and said some cool things about it,” he told us at the time. “Definitely that second verse, it’s like their song, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.’ Even though you might believe [in God], there’s things that come along that test your faith.”
Last night, before Bentley’s “Last Call Ball” at New York’s Highline Ballroom—where he played songs from his upcoming album, Black, along with some of the writers who contributed to the album—he told Radio.com that he’s been in touch with the U2 frontman again.
“I guess I have a tradition now of sending a song or two to Bono for every record and getting a response,” he said. “I got a text back from him today, actually. I sent him a song called ‘Freedom.’ The third verse of the song was kind of inspired by something he said to me once. He said that when people in other countries see the American flag, they don’t just see a geographical location, they see an idea of freedom. And they want a little piece of that idea.”
“So I sent him the song, and he sent me a pretty thoughtful email back; he got back to me today. He couldn’t be more supportive, it was pretty cool to get that email today.”
Bentley is one of country music’s biggest artists, but he grew up listening to rock music, and counts U2 as one of his favorite bands (and has covered their “Pride [In the Name of Love]” in concert). So, what’s it like to be able to text with Bono?
“It’s pretty bizarre, man, it’s crazy. I love music. Any celebrity status that I have, is because of my love of country music and music in general. To have some folks like that in my phone, it’s crazy.”
He’s not the only artist who he’s jazzed about: “Alison Krauss[‘s number] is in my phone, and that’s a dangerous number to have, because I’m such a big fan and I’ve been known to text her at 3 am. But I try to be respectful of those folks! But it’s great to be able to have a chance to talk to the musicians that you grew up with. My first concert was Bon Jovi, and I had the chance to open for Bon Jovi once! It’s all part of the crazy trip.”
Bentley’s crazy trip continues tomorrow, when he releases Black. And his tour goes through the summer: check his website for upcoming dates. Look for our full interview with Bentley next week.