April 16, 2014 12:00 PM

Dierks Bentley knows a thing or two about holding an audience; he’s currently prepping for his headlining tour, which kicks off in May. But the new dad of three says some of his favorite moments are actually when he gets to be the one in the crowd. The venue? His dining room. “We got rid of our dining room table – because we never used it – and instead put a balance beam and a little portable stereo in there,” says Bentley, 39, whose new son Knox joined big sisters Evie, 5, and Jordan, 3, on Oct. 9. “Me and [wife] Cassidy will sit on the floor while the girls put on a performance, usually to the Frozen soundtrack, and it’s unbelievable. Evie knows every word. Knox is there in my lap laughing like crazy: He thinks his sisters are the funniest people in the entire world.”

It’s the kind of moment the singer doesn’t take for granted. “I’m an extremely competitive person. I want to be on top of whatever I’m doing, and that certainly applies to this whole country music game,” says Bentley, whose new album Riser debuted at No. 1 on the country charts. “But that same intensity I bring to music, I bring to being a dad. I want to be the best at it.” It’s why he got his pilot’s license and began flying himself to most of his concerts. “I play big towns and small towns, and Southwest doesn’t fly all the places I need to go, and I can’t afford to sit in the back of a private plane,” says Bentley. “I realized that with a single-engine plane I could get to 75 percent of the places I play the morning of the show. It gives me an extra night at home and an extra day to be there for breakfast and take the girls to school.”

So how’s the master multitasker handling three kids? “Going from one kid to two was difficult. But after two, your parenting skills are so sharp there’s no panicking,” he says. “You have to let go a little bit, because you’re outmanned. Knox is like a suitcase, we’ll take him anywhere. I walk out of the house with him wearing a diaper, and that’s the diaper he’ll be wearing until we get back home. He can tough it out.” So since three’s a breeze, does that mean there might be plans for one more? “Absolutely not!” says Bentley. “I’m already going to be about 58 before Cass and I get any alone time!”

You May Like