Dierks Bentley releases 4-song ode to summer fun

By Chris Talbott/The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A few years ago Dierks Bentley went hard against country music convention by releasing a rockin’ bluegrass-roots album. He’s decided to break the rules again.

This time around, Bentley is releasing a new four-song EP called “Country & Cold Cans” even while his last album continues to chart hit singles. Turns out Bentley just wanted to have a little fun with his friends.

“Sometimes that should be the driving force in your decisions, you know?” Bentley said. “It doesn’t always have to be a business decision or well-thought-out plan. Just go out there, have fun, do it with some friends and put out some new tunes.”

“Country & Cold Cans” is out Aug. 21. The EP will be a digital-only release available on iTunes initially. Bentley will support the EP with a quick three-date tour Aug. 20-22 at the University of South Carolina, the University of Georgia and the University of Mississippi. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Bentley released his last album “Home” earlier this year and “5-1-5-0,” his 10th No. 1 country single as both artist and songwriter, reached the top of the charts this week. It’s the third No. 1 from “Home.”

Normally, competing music would be considered a hindrance to the success of that album. But in this case, Bentley welcomes the interruption in business as usual. The music was written on the road, then recorded over a two-day period with his touring band and produced with Jaren Johnston, a member of The Cadillac Black — Bentley’s opening band on tour this year.

The music is meant to be loose and off the cuff. With songs like the title track, “Grab a Beer” and “Back Porch,” the aim is clear.

Bentley said he’s targeting the same kind of kids curious about country music like he was as a teenager growing up in Arizona.

“It’s called ‘Country & Cold Cans,’” Bentley said with a laugh. “It’s not called Beethoven.”