Getting Dierks Bentley to lend his vocals to Cole Swindell’s current single, “Flatliner,” was a long time coming.
Although Cole had Dierks in mind when he co-wrote the tune with Jaron Boyer and Matt Bronleewe in 2012, it took Dierks a few years to warm up to the idea—or perhaps savvy Dierks was just waiting for Cole’s career to takeoff. After six consecutive No. 1 singles, it’s safe to say Cole’s career has skyrocketed.
“I wrote ‘Flatliner’ with Jaron Boyer and Matt Bronleewe before I had my [Warner Bros.] record deal—it was in 2012 or ’13,” says Cole to Nash Country Daily. “We wrote it and I was like, ‘Man, we gotta try to get this to Dierks.’ Whatever happened, we didn’t have the avenue to get it to him, or he heard it and didn’t want it. I don’t know what happened.
“After I got the record deal and had some success, I told Dierks the story and he was like, ‘Well, send it to me. I gotta hear it.’ He listened to it and loved it, and I joked with him, ‘Man, you gotta sing on that with me if we ever record it. You got to.’ It was kind of a running joke every time we’d see each other. Sure enough, when the time came, he agreed to do it.”
The “time” was Cole’s 2016 sophomore album, You Should Be Here, which features “Flatliner” as the third single. The tune is currently No. 24 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. But it still begs the question: Was Dierks just waiting for Cole’s career to skyrocket before he lent his vocals to the song?
“Yeah, he’s not gonna just sing on some new guy’s song that used to sell merch, right?” says Cole with a laugh. “But it’s just cool that I met him in those days when I was Luke Bryan’s merch guy. Dierks is a good dude. For him to know what it means to me to be on that song and to be performing it with me, that’s a big deal to me. He knows that. That’s just something I hope I get to do for somebody someday.
“I’m thankful that I’m touring with Dierks. But I’m thankful because I had to sing this song for a while by myself. There are way too many words. I about pass out every night I have to sing it by myself. But out there on tour with Dierks, he helps me out, and it’s how it’s supposed to be. So I’m glad. I think it was just made for me and him, and I’m glad that he’s on it.”