Seven albums into one of country music’s most-respected and most-unpredictable careers, award-winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley continues to grow. His latest evolution comes in the form of RISER, a project due out Feb. 25, 2014 that stands as his most personal to date.
Written and recorded in the year following his father’s death, the album draws its title from “I’m A Riser,” a song about resilience and determination. “I’m A Riser” works as a commentary on spiritual, personal and societal recommitment, but it also applies to the competitive battlefield of the music industry. It’s particularly appropriate for an album about rejuvenation delivered by Bentley.
“Life in general has a way of knocking you down,” Bentley says. “It’s different reasons for different folks – could be personal reasons, could be family reasons, your job, drugs, alcohol. That song really applies to anybody that’s lived. There have always been those moments when we have to get back up and get on our feet. They are defining moments…breakthrough moments.”
Accepting change – and growing from it – is a key theme in RISER, and it is reflected by the tone of the album, which demonstrates a new artistic depth and an extra level of intensity for Bentley. It evolves from track to track, exuding a range of emotions, all the while impressing upon the listener that Bentley’s instinct for a hit is stronger than ever. Bentley made significant reconfigurations in his creative team to shake up his sonic texture without sacrificing his commercial drive. He re-enlisted executive producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr., who worked on Bentley’s first two albums; and utilized producer Ross Copperman, who co-wrote “Tip It On Back” for Bentley’s previous album Home.
The new atmosphere yielded the most focused and intense vocals of Bentley’s career. Some were recorded live with the band as the musicians laid down the tracks, but others were captured in less-than-obvious locales. One track’s vocal was recorded on Bentley’s tour bus. Still others were cut at Copperman’s house with the producer literally at Bentley’s side, pushing him to some of his most emotional, and seasoned, performances.
“It’s not even really a studio,” Bentley says of Copperman’s set-up. “It’s just kind of a corner of the house he’s taken over, so there was a kind of intimacy to the vocal process. It was important to get out of the studio and sing in different places, and to do it with other people in the room. That way, you have an audience and you get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working, when it’s feeling good, not feeling good. It brings a little more emotion and energy out of your voice.”
Since making a life-altering drive with his father from Phoenix to Nashville when he was 19 years old, Bentley has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. He has mixed elements of modern country, classic country, bluegrass and rock, maintaining an unmistakable identity while constantly reinventing his sound. His album Home debuted at No. 1 and spawned three consecutive chart-topping hits, marking 10 career No. 1 songs for Bentley as a singer and songwriter. His five previous studio albums have sold more than five million copies, garnered 11 GRAMMY nominations and earned him an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker (with Brad Paisley), Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban are among the all-star lineup of performers for ACM® PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY, a two-hour special featuring intimate conversations and at-home acoustic performances with Country Music’s biggest stars, along with clips from the Academy of Country Music Awards’™ 55-year history. Kelsea Ballerini,Kane Brown & John Legend, Brandi Carlile, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Old Dominion, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani will also perform. The special will be broadcast Sunday, April 5th at 8pm ET/PT; 7pm CT on CBS and CBS All Access.
ACM® PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY will also honor 10-time ACM Award® winner Kenny Rogers with performances by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. As previously announced, artists will appear from their homes to share heartfelt thoughts and perform acoustic versions of Country hits. Additionally, video clips from previous ACM Award broadcasts will highlight favorite ACM moments from the past. It will be a night filled with entertainment, hope and reflection, bringing the healing power of music to Americans at a time when they need it most.
The special will broadcast during the time slot previously scheduled for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards, which will now be broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 16 (live 8:00-11:00 PM ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on CBS All Access. The 55th ACM Awards, hosted for the first time by reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year and 15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban, honors the biggest names and emerging talent in the Country Music industry.
About ACM® PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY
ACM® PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY invites fans to join their favorite superstars for a new kind of entertainment special featuring at-home acoustic performances with top Country artists along with clips of their favorite moments from the Academy of Country Music Awards’™ 55-year history. ACM PRESENTS: OUR COUNTRY is produced for television by dick clark productions. R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman, Mark Bracco and Amy Thurlow are executive producers. Damon Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music®.
Here’s a list of events you don’t want to miss on Friday (March 27th) with Kylie Morgan, Brandon Lay, Dierks Bentley and more
Singer/Songwriter Jordan Davis Celebrates Reflective New Track with the Song’s Muse, his Wife Kristen, on Instagram Live Tonight at 5 p.m. CT
What you may have missed (but you can catch Brandon on Friday):
Coming up next week–Caylee Hammack
Six years ago today (March 24th), Dierks Bentley topped the country charts with “I Hold On,” a song that has both personal and universal meaning to the artist and seems to have more meaning to all of us during this time in the world than ever before.
“These verses are snippets about my life and just things about me, and it’s kind of a song of self-discovery too, you know,” says Dierks. “Who am I after all these years? What’s important to me? Why do I do certain things that I do? Why do I hold on to certain things that I hold onto? It’s a little bit of me trying to figure out who I am, and then the choruses, it’s who we are as Americans, as a people, as human beings, I guess. There are things that we really value and that we hold on to ‘em really tight – faith, love and freedom.”
“I Hold On” was Dierks’ 11th No. 1, and it’s from his album, Riser.
Dierks Bentley (I Hold On) 1 OC: …at the end. :33
“It’s so me. It’s so personal, and yet it’s universal at the same time. You know, these verses are snippets about my life and just things about me, and it’s kind of a song of self-discovery too, you know. Who am I after all these years? What’s important to me? Why do I do certain things that I do? Why do I hold on to certain things that I hold onto? It’s a little bit of me trying to figure out who I am, and then the choruses, it’s who we are as Americans, as a people, as human beings, I guess. There are things that we really value and that we hold on to ‘em really tight – faith, love and freedom. In a way, it’s kind of a love song too, kind of wrapping up at the end.”