Bentley enjoyed success from the outset with his first single, "What Was I Thinkin," which made it to number 1 in 2003, the first of 5 chart toppers he would wrack up.
While satisfied with the results of the recordings, Beavers says, "We still needed a break. I think the timing was right. We were at least aiming for the target of making him a different kind of artist."
Bentley followed the hit with "My Last Name" going top 20 and the very fast-paced "How Am I Doin" at number 4.
That set the stage for "Modern Day Drifter" in 2005, which like the debut went platinum, signifying sales of 1 million units. The roll continued for Bentley with two number ones with the ballads "Come a Little Closer" and "Settle for a Slow Down" and a number three with the uptempo "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do."
While the sales of Bentley's third album didn't approach his first two (it went gold for sales of 500,000), the hits kept coming with "Every Mile a Memory" and "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)" both topping the chart and the title cut coming in at number 10 and "Trying to Stop Your Leaving" at 5.
Bentley also was a steady road warrior, doing club dates with Cross Canadian Ragweed, opening slots and eventually headlining as well. He's done such non-country gigs as Bonnaroo, Lollapallooza and in December 2008, a Nobel Prize concert.
Bentley's live show allows him to show his charisma and energy, bounding about the stage with a real sense of enthusiasm, while mixing it up between honky tonkers, ballads, bluegrass and more contemporary sounds.
Last year, Bentley put out "Greatest Hits/Every Mile a Memory 2003-2008," which contained a few new songs and a slew of live versions of songs as well.
At the same time as prepping for the hits disc, Bentley started recording in May 2007 with pre-production on "Feel That Fire." Four months later, he returned to the studio with his band and in December 2007, Bentley and his band hit yet another recording studio. "A lot of those songs made it," says Bentley, including the title track, on the final version.
"We felt like we were really close to having a great body of work, (but we were) missing a couple of things," Beavers says. In April 2008, 1 day of recording in Nashville resulted in several more songs recorded. A total of about 25 songs were whittled down to 12, but with the way the music business is these days, Beavers expects 4 of the 25 songs to be available as extras through Amazon, Rhapsody and iTunes to encourage people to buy the entire disc and get some exclusive songs.
"I tried to blend ideas and energies from my band especially with the session guys who know my sound so well," says Bentley, who is now on tour with Brad Paisley in the winter.
Not content to merely rehash what he has already done, Bentley says, "My mindset with this record was really to pull the carpet out from the way we've always done things before and try something different." n