Life Just Gets Richer (2008)

Dierks Bentley opens up about his gorgeous Tennessee nature retreat, his camping tips, canine pal Jake’s new business venture and his desire for kids with wife Cassidy.

Dierks Bentley recently spent part of a gorgeous spring day relaxing with his dogs George and Jake on the lush 80 acres he owns a few miles south of his Nashville home. Here’s part of what he had to say.

CW
How’d you find this place?
DB
I’ve been in Nashville since 1994, and I always loved this area. And I always wanted to have some land out here—not really even to build on—just to have something out here just to kind of protect and just be able to come out to and hang out and enjoy. With Nashville getting so big, and so much farm land getting cut up, I really just made the decision to try to get something now for the future and just to have a place to kinda hang out outside of town. To come chill out and be still and just get away from everything.
CW
Do you envision a house at some point . . . whether it’s 10 years down the road or whenever?
DB
Maybe in 20 years down the road, maybe a house out here. But for now, I really just come out here with the tent and the dogs and hang out. The whole point in getting this was to protect it from being chopped up into a development thing, you know? I just wanted a place to come out here and enjoy and let it be what it is and not do too much to change it. So I don’t really see myself coming out here and doing anything other than campin’ out which we do pretty often.
CW
Thanks, on behalf of those of us who love seeing this land and hate to see condos spring up on it.
DB
I know, that’s the way I feel. I totally understand, everyone’s lookin’ for a house out in the country somewhere. But I really love Tennessee, it’s so beautiful, I just hate to see all the countryside getting chopped up. What I love about this area is they’ve kinda kept it the way it is and there’s some laws keeping it from being too subdivided. So I just wanted to get something I could preserve and take care of and pass down one day.
CW
Let’s talk about camping . . . have you always done this . . . ever in Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts?
DB
No, I never did the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts or anything, but my family—every year we’d got to a place called Lake Powell, which is a big lake in northern Arizona. It’s a huge lake, probably one of the biggest lakes in the west.
We’d go out and take a small boat out and camp out for seven or eight days at a time, wouldn’t really see anybody for a week. It’d be great. My dad was really good at all that stuff as far as everything camping-related goes—from cookin’ to settin’ stuff up to sleepin’ out under the stars every night. I have great memories and that’s somethin’ I want to pass down one day. But, yeah, I do love bein’ out here and feel very comfortable being out here.
CW
Do you have any extreme memories . . . fond or otherwise . . . snake in the sleeping bag, bear in the food . . . beautiful sunset . . . whatever?
DB
The most recent memory I have is being out on this land with my two dogs, Jake and George. They’re not as good at camping as you’d think they’d be. Around the house, they’re great. They bark at anybody who comes near our door. They think they’re the toughest dogs on the block. But, you get ‘em out in the woods and they show they’re city slickers pretty quick.
The first time I ever had ‘em out here was in this tent. All night long, I heard their feet just [he makes quick clicking sounds with his mouth] . . . all around the tent. Freakin’ out because it was lightning a little bit. They were scared to death and they kept me up all night because they were not used to being out here in the woods. So that first time with them out here, they were big wimps. But they’ve gotten better.
Lake Powell is part of the Grand Canyon whole deal and watchin’ the sun rise over those mountain cliffs is incredible. There’s rattle snakes out there. You’ll walk along and hear a rattle snake, that’s pretty common out there. But nothin’ too crazy.
CW
Do you watch Survivor Man and Man vs. Wild?
DB
Yeah, we’ve got ‘em both Tivo’d on the bus, actually. Great shows. We watch a lot of stuff that’s on A&E. That’s a great channel.
CW
How would you rate your survival skills?
DB
(laughs) Can I have my Blackberry with me? (No! You can’t!) With the Blackberry, I’d say pretty good. ‘Cause I can text message like no one else. My thumbs can move across the dial pretty quick to call for help. Without the Blackberry, I could be in a little bit of trouble. I could get by around here pretty good. But if you dropped me in a random spot, I think I’d be in trouble. Can I have my tour manager with me, can I call out for Todd?
CW
No . . . this is not “phone a friend” . . . you have no “lifelines!”
DB
That’s the big joke, because our tour manager does so much for us. Any problem comes up, it’s just, “Todd!”
CW
Do you have any cool camping gadgets? Ever seen the fire pistons?
DB
No. That’s genius. Yeah, yeah. I’ll check it out.
CW
Is there any repellent in Jake’s outfit, or is it just a fabric barrier to cover him up?
DB
This is a Gilly suit. It’s what snipers wear. So it’s perfect mesh and a tick cannot crawl through there at all. I spray a little Off on the outside. It’s gonna be available on the web site actually. It’s called Jake’s Anti-tick Suit. It’s all cool to be a dude and go out campin’ with your boys and hang out with the dogs. But you come back home and your wife’s grossed out by the dog havin’ 30 or 40 ticks on. So it’s for the guys like me who are part city, party country. You want to be able to live in both worlds. And you want to come home without spiders and ticks on ‘em. So, this is the prototype. They should be available on dierks.com in about a month.
CW
Is Cassidy a camper?
DB
Yeah, she’s great. She loves being out here. She’s not scared. I’m always surprised, ‘cause I’m always dyin’ to get out here. And I’m always kinda cautious thinkin’ she might want to do something more glamorous or something. But she’s always the first one to say, “Let’s go.” We’ll get a couple of folding chairs and put ‘em in the back of the truck and just sit out here and read. Have some beer or wine and watch the sunset and hang out. Let the dogs go crazy and run around. Just really chill out. I’ve got a four-wheeler, too. We drive that around a little bit, too.
CW
Are there any camping survival skills that also apply to the music business?
DB
(big laugh) That’s a great question. You’ve gotta have your metaphorical form of Off to spray on to keep you so you can go through any environment. The music business is a tough business . . . You get a lot of criticism or you get a lot of people doubting you or questioning you. You’ve just gotta be able to do your thing and move forward. So it’s similar with Jake when he has his tick suit on—you’ve gotta put your armor on every day in the music business and be tough. You’ve got stay resolute with what you think is right, when it comes to music and pickin’ singles and writing songs. So, the same way Jake puts his armor on our here, I put my armor on when I step off the bus.

Dierks’ Must-have Camping Items

  • A guitar
  • Beer (food is optional!)
  • A camera
  • A good book

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