The singer chats with PEOPLE while celebrating his 12th No. 1 at a party for "Drunk on a Plane"

By Kay West
Updated September 25, 2014 01:00 PM
Michael Loccisano/Getty

At the celebration for Dierks Bentley‘s latest hit "Drunk on a Plane," there was none of the usual No. 1 party fare – no plaques, medallions or silver cups given out. Still, Bentley had everything he needed.

“I’ve got a 12-pack!” he said, beaming.

It was just full throttle party time Wednesday night at The Sutler, a 30-year-old music-biz watering hole and performance room recently re-opened in Nashville. It’s a place Bentley fondly remembers as one of four go-to spots when he first came to Nashville. “I spent some time here and saw some good music here,” he said. “It’s a lot cleaner now.”

It was also full of friends who donned Captain Johnson caps, aviators and stick-on mustaches and downed cocktails with names like The Landing Strip and Mile High Margarita to celebrate the singer and his song.

It’s been quite a year for Bentley, 38, who scored five CMA nominations (the CMA Awards air live Nov. 5 on ABC). “A couple years ago I got off the awards show merry-go-round, so I wasn’t really paying attention the day the final nominees were announced,” said Bentley. “I was surprised. It’s come full-circle for me, the kid who used to work for the CMA and now I have five nominations!”

Not so impressed? His daughters Evie and Jordan. “I’m their dad, when I go out to do something like this they just think I’m going to work. They are completely unaware, which is great,” says Bentley. “When they come on the road they might hang around and listen to three songs, then they run off. They love being on the road, but mostly because they do fun stuff, like chalking up the concrete floors of the venue.”

It turns out, Bentley also really likes to keep things simple – and old school. He recently went shopping for a new cell phone, and no, not that one.

“I’m going low-tech,” he says. “I went into the Verizon store the other day and the salesman was pretty excited, he was like, ‘Hey Dierks, what can I show you?’ I said, ‘The cheapest, lowest tech phone you have.’ I think he was disappointed. Everybody else was running out for the new iPhone 6 but I got a flip phone. It has a camera because of the kids, but it’s pretty basic. This one was like 99 cents. I’m trying to call more and text less. I don’t want to check my phone 5,000 times a day anymore. It was getting to me. I’m bringing old back.”

As for what’s new, Bentley just released the video for his tune “Say You Do,” the fourth single off his Riser album, though he admits he was one of the last to see it.

I just saw it. It’s hard for me to watch myself in videos,” says Bentley. “But there was such great reaction from fans that I screwed up my courage to watch it. I called Wes [Edwards, the director] to apologize for not watching it sooner and thanked him for making me look good.”

Check out the video for “Say You Do” here:

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

Thank you for signing up!