“Things would just come together on an unnatural kind of way. It was just really a meant-to-be kind of thing,” Bentley said.
“Up on the Ridge” earned album of the year nominations from the Grammy, Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards.
“It sets the bar in a different area for the next album. I can't just go back and do something like I've done before ... so it's exciting. It's definitely reinvigorating.”
With the party song “Am I the Only One,” Bentley already has scored a No. 1 hit from his forthcoming sixth album, due out in February. He recently released the second single and title track, the hopeful anthem “Home.”
“It's kind of coming home to country music on this record for me,” he said. “I think between ‘Am I the Only One' and ‘Home,' you get a pretty good idea of what the record's gonna have. You know, those fun, up-tempo party songs have always been a part of country music for me ... but then also those songs that dig in there and make you think.”
The Arizona native co-wrote the title track in the days after the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and injured 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“It's hopefully a song that brings people together no matter what their backgrounds are,” he said. “I just feel like it's a song that hopefully inspires people that have differences but also inspires people who are going through hard times.”
He is doing his part to help injured veterans with his “Believe in Heroes” initiative, part of the Wounded Warrior Project. Throughout his tour, including the Oklahoma City concert, he is hosting preshow parties for wounded servicemen and women, their friends and families.
“This is when it's time to put your patriotism to work and instead of just talking about it, try to get involved and do something.”