Fox caught up with Dierks Bentley at the CMA Music Festival, where he played one of the big stadium shows.

“You get a chance to tell all those fans out there watching just like, ‘Thank you for being a country music fan. We love you guys. We’re always looking for ways to give back to you guys.’”

He sees this artist-fan connection constantly when on tour, where opening acts like Cole Swindell look to him as a mentor.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, made a lot of mistakes along the way and…a lot of it is just my own fault, just being stubborn and trying to do it my own way, but I feel like I have advice to offer if it’s ever wanted. I don’t just go out there and just give it unwanted, but I feel there are things I can offer up and then just by leading a certain way on the road.”

Recently, Bentley received attention after some negative online comments about his National Anthem at Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs – but he doesn’t pay attention to it.

“I don’t pay attention to Twitter or any of the social stuff. There was a time I did, and there was a time I said I didn’t but I still kind-of checked in on it a little bit and was swayed by it. Now I just like, man, I don’t care at all what people are saying. I use the socials to upload stuff and, you know, certain things I upload I want to know what fans think about a show or like – but I’m not going to go on there and check out how a performance of mine is. I don’t care. The people that are writing that stuff, yeah, I don’t – their opinion means zero rot me. But [I care] what my wife thinks, what the community thinks.”

He is asked about the Predators a lot, so as for why he’s one of country music’s ice hockey go-tos, he says he loves the team, loves hockey and is even in a men’s league himself!

“We won our little Stanley Cup playoff this year. We’re terrible, but we’re the least terrible in our league and I just love the sport…Carrie Underwood probably has a little more credibility because her husband plays for the team. Vince Gill is a long-time fan and goes to a lot more games than I do. It’s hard, having kids and being in the middle of my career, to make all the games."