By Kurt Wolff
The title of Dierks Bentley‘s next single, “Drunk on a Plane,” may imply the song’s going to be a downer rippled with whiskey tears and aching memories. As soon as you hear the song, though–especially the upbeat, sing-along chorus–that image is shattered.
No wonder then that the song, which appears on Bentley’s new album Riser, has proven to be such a fan favorite during his live shows.
“It’s a good story … relatable,” Bentley told Radio.com about the song, which he wrote with Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins.
We spoke with Bentley in Las Vegas this past Friday (April 4), after he and Sheryl Crow finished rehearsing their duet of Bentley’s No. 1 hit “I Hold On,” which they performed on Sunday’s ACM Awards. And when the subject of “Drunk on a Plane” came up, Crow told us that she had been lucky enough to hear the song soon after it was written.
And she immediately loved it. “I was like, ‘touchdown!'”
Bentley said one thing he loves about the song is that, while it’s about drinking and carrying on at 35,000 feet, it contains a multitude of emotions. “Even though it’s called ‘Drunk on a Plane,’ there is some depth to the story, and to the music,” he said.
The song deliberately mates that lively chorus (which is nearly impossible to get out of your head the minute you hear it) with some “chord choices” that Bentley described as melancholy. “It’s kinda like a clown, who’s smiling on the outside but crying on the inside,” he said. “I like that. It has some depth.”
“It’s a good piece of story writing,” said Crow.
Bentley had earlier told Radio.com that “Drunk on a Plane” was one of the later additions to Riser, and it brought a balance to some of the album’s heavier songs.
On the album it appears after the song “Here On Earth.” As Bentley explained, the song that followed needed “to be a release, not only to me, but the person listening. It’s like a gift. ‘Thanks for putting up with that last song. Thanks for crying. Here’s your reward.’”
“It’ll be a fun video to make on that one for sure,” he added.