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.
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Carrie Underwood has been announced as one of the main headliners during the Barefoot Country Music Fest in Wildwood, New Jersey this summer. The three-day festival will take place June 19th – 21st. Tickets are on sale now.
Jon Pardi’s “Heartache on the Dance Floor” has been certified double-platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), while Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do” has been certified platinum.
This year’s RodeoHouston lineup has been announced and will include headliners Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Chris Stapleton and Jon Pardi, as well as Willie Nelson, Maren Morris, Kane Brown, Chris Young, Brad Paisley, Gwen Stefani, Khalid and many others. The 2020 RodeoHouston will take place March 3rd – March 22nd, with tickets going on sale this Thursday (January 16th).
Dierks Bentley’s 2014 Riser album will be featured on vinyl for the first time in January. The collection celebrating the fifth anniversary includes his No. 1 hits “I Hold On,” “Drunk on a Plane” and “Say You Do” will be available on a translucent orange special edition and on standard black vinyl.
“I named the album ‘Riser’ because the lyrics in that song perfectly articulate who I want to be, who I try to be,” Bentley explained when the album was released in February 2014. “There’s a lot of really intense material on this record, but there’s also a lighter side that is equally important in telling the story of the last two years of my life.” When I first started writing for this album, I was in a place of grief over the loss of my dad, but over the course of the next 18 months, my wife and I had our son Knox, and I ended in a place of real joy and gratefulness. Both sides of that coin are what country music has always been about, and I hope that my fans can feel how much of myself I put into this project. It’s all out on the table, for sure.”
Embraced by Bentley’s fans as well as country radio, Riser topped the Billboard Country Albums chart and marked his fifth career debut in the top spot on the strength of three No. 1 country singles – “I Hold On,” “Say You Do” and the platinum-selling “Drunk On A Plane,” which became his 18th career single to peak in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay chart. Produced by Ross Copperman and Arturo Buenahora, Riser, which was also Bentley’s seventh top 10 album on the Billboard 200, debuting at No. 6, was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Country Album.
Accepting change – and growing from it – is a key theme in Riser, and it is reflected by the tone of the album, which demonstrated a new artistic depth and an extra level of intensity for Bentley. Evolving from track to track, the 12-song album exudes a range of emotions and blends a contemporary sound with Bentley’s obvious love for traditional country music. Riser features six songs co-written by Bentley including the No. 1 hits “I Hold On,” which displays some of the soaring guitar work that has drawn comparisons to U2, and “Drunk On A Plane,” an up-tempo song with an underlying lonesomeness about a guy determined to enjoy his Mexican honeymoon by himself after getting left at the altar.
Opening with “Bourbon In Kentucky,” featuring backing vocals from Kacey Musgraves, the album is loaded with highlights including “Say You Do,” “Damn These Dreams,” “Hurt Somebody,” with backing vocals by Chris Stapleton, and the powerful title track “Riser,” which has become one of Bentley’s signature songs, a fixture at his live shows and the name of his foundation which focuses on the needs of children and families. The song about overcoming life’s obstacles came to him following the death of his father and birth of his son and became the cornerstone of the record. It was accompanied by a poignant video inspired by a “60 Minutes” episode and tells the real-life story of Amy Thomas who was forced to live out of her car with her children after their house was foreclosed on. Throughout the starkly light black and white video, Bentley sings the chorus of strength and resilience: “I’m a riser/I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider/Hey pushin’ comes to shovin’/Baby I’m a fighter/When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter/A get out aliver, of the fire/survivor.”
Dierks, who just scored his 19th No. 1 song with “Living,” will release the new vinyl editions of Riser January 31st.
Dierks Bentley RISER LP
- Bourbon In Kentucky
- Say You Do
- I Hold On
- Pretty Girls
- Here On Earth
- Drunk On A Plane
- Sounds Of Summer
- Damn These Dreams
- Back Porch
- Hurt Somebody
Dierks Bentley (Riser album songs) OC: …been amazing. :44
“Once I kind of knew what I was feeling with my dad and just all this stuff, I had a template to start from for writing and listening for stuff to kind of fit that mold. Luckily for me, there was enough gap between my dad passing away and my son being born that we were able to go out, I had this tour on the road which my true colors actually came out. And that feeling was able to be brought into the album with songs like ‘Back Porch,’ ‘Chillin’ on a Back Porch,’ and ‘Drunk on a Plane,’ and ‘Sounds of Summer,’ these fun songs that kind of encapsulate who I am, as well as a father and a son who has lost his father. So, yeah, It’s [been] a pretty incredible journey the last two years. It’s been amazing.”
What are some of your favorite stars doing to welcome in the New Year? A few of them are working to help fans celebrate. Several artists have taken the time off around the holidays and will hit it hard when they return to the road in January. Some artists have resolutions, and some are very helpful with their own hangover cures for those who imbibe too much on New Year’s Eve.
Keith Urban is set to headline Music City on New Year’s Eve for the fourth consecutive year. He’ll perform at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park as part of the Jack Daniels Music City Midnight bash. The legendary Stevie Nicks will join Keith, as well as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Ashley McBryde, Amanda Shires, The Struts and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, among others. The event will include the traditional Music Note Drop and fireworks display to ring in the New Year. Keith will be featured on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve,” which will be hosted by Carson Daly and Julianne Hough. The special will air Monday, December 31st from 10-11pm ET/PT and return 11:30pm – 12:30am ET/PT. Keith, as well Shania Twain, will also appear during CNN’s coverage of the New Year with hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.
Sam Hunt will perform during Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve from New York City. The long-running countdown to the new year, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, will also include performers Keith Urban, Post Malone, BTS, Jonas Brothers, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Dan + Shay, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Usher, Salt-N-Pepa and many others. The show will air 8pm to 2am ET on ABC.
Lauren Alaina will perform on Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square. Other performers include LL Cool J, Florida Georgia Line, The Chainsmokers, The Lumineers, Backstreet Boys and The Killers, among others, to help ring in 2020. The show will air in two parts: 8p-10p ET/CT live; MT/PT tape-delayed with the second part beginning at 11pm – 12:30am ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed.
Gary Allan is set to ring in the New Year with a show at Riverwind Casino in Norman, Oklahoma.
Brothers Osborne (New Year) OC: (TJ) …next month. :44
JOHN: “I think it’s kind of funny how we spend literally the last moment and the very first moment of every year being extremely intoxicated, extremely, because you don’t want to wait until like 12:30 to get your buzz on. You’ve got to do it before midnight, and then once midnight happens, you’re like, ‘Omigod! Now it’s time to celebrate even more.’ Debauchery is the literally bookending your entire year.” TJ: “I love how everyone starts the year off with diets and then we end the year with like excessive amounts of food. And then you get to the end of the year, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m going to start a diet on the 1st, so I’m going to eat everything that’s in front of me.’ I love it.” JOHN: “And come February 1st, ‘what diet?’” [laughs] TJ: “What diet? I’ll start it next month.” [laughs]
Brothers Osborne (hangover cure) OC: …of the year. :07
“Usually drinking more. I mean, a little hair of the dog never hurt anybody. Plus, it’s the first of the year.”
Clare Dunn (hangover cure) OC: …hangover cure. :10
“Greasy food is always kind of a, you can let it go for one day before you start all your resolutions [laughs] after that. So, that’s probably my best hangover cure.”
Dierks (NYE) OC: …for that. :10
“I think January first is universally accepted as a dog. So, I mean, a little hair of the dog, I guess. But just…water and stay on the couch, I guess. There’s no real sure-fire cure for that.”
Dierks Bentley (New Year’s) OC: …in stride. 1:07
“New Year’s is rough. New Year’s hurts no matter what’s going on. I’ve played a lot of New Year’s shows, you know, but I’ve honestly found that it’s not my favorite night to throw down. Look, for a living, that’s what I do. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, I host a big party; not only on stage, but I’ve got friends backstage. It starts before the concert sometimes, [and] it goes long after the concert, so a lot of times on New Year’s, I’m looking for a really mellow hang – a good party, good friends, pretty chill. Some of my best New Year’s – it doesn’t make for great radio – but some of my best New Year’s have been just like actually hearing fireworks go off while I’m in bed, [laughs] and know I’m gonna wake up the next morning for the first day of the New Year feeling great, feeling recharged and I’m ready to go and go into the New Year feeling good as opposed to going into it with a giant Jagerbomb hangover, which I’ve done many, many times. So, the goal this year is to go into it feeling pretty good and the kids help with that, because you really just don’t want to be hungover with children. It’s not a good feeling. You would probably admit to any crime to get them, just feel better, and get them leave you alone.”
Eric Church (hangover cure) OC: …every time. :17
“The best hangover cure – I’ve got two. One is 5-hour Energy [bottles], because of all the B-vitamins that are in it. You can start pounding those, and it’s either gonna work, or it’s gonna keep you up and prolong your misery. But the other one I have is just take two Advil and a beer in the morning. Hair of the dog, man – that works every time.”
Jon Pardi (hangover cure) OC: …deal with it. :20
“My hangover cure is Bloody Marys, but be careful – because once you have a couple, don’t go to beer, because if you go to beer, you’re gonna start drinking again and you’ll end up a morning drunk. OR if you want to go the non-alcoholic route, there’s nothing you can do for hangovers. [laughs] You just go deal with it.”
Kacey Musgraves (hangover cure) OC: …water. Yup! :32
“Coconut water is a major help with hangovers and also, a lot of times we go and eat Vietnamese fuh. It’s a soup, and it’s got this awesome broth. You can get different things in it or whatever, but for some reason, it’s just like…it’s almost like a chicken noodle soup kind of an idea, you know, but it’s good. That’s good for hangovers too. That, sleep, Tylenol, coconut water and just water, in general. And when you’re drinking, have your alcohol, drink a little bit of water, drink some more alcohol, drink some water. Yup!”
Keith Urban (playing Nashville 2019) OC: …getting to do it. :
“I love it. I love playing in Nashville. I’ve lived here now 27 years. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Australia, which is crazy, you now? Playing New Year’s Eve is awesome because you never know what to expect from year to year. This’ll be our fourth year doing it. We have Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires this year and a bunch of other people. There’s a whole bunch of people at this show. It’s free and the town gets behind it in a big way. It just feels like a, I don’t know, it just feels like a big Nash love fest really for me. I love it. I love getting to do it.”
Kip Moore (avoiding hangovers on NYE) OC: …yourself. :03
“Pace yourself on New Year’s – that’s the remedy. Pace yourself.”
Luke Bryan (New Years-best) OC: …great night. :17
“My best New Year’s Eve is definitely when my wife and I started back dating. We started back dating right before Christmas, and we went on a trip down to Florida and met some friends. And her birthday is New Year’s Eve. We celebrated it that night. It was just a great night.”
Travis Denning (favorite New Year’s Eve party) OC: …it was good. :41
“I think my favorite New Year’s Eve party ever was when my sister got married, and my sister’s party got done at 10:30, 10:45 and she got married right behind a little club that I played a lot in Macon, Georgia called the Crazy Bull and love the owner. We’re boys, you know? So, we just literally walked right over and burned the house down. That was one of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories, ‘cause I got to see my sister and brother-in-law get married and that was such a great, great time, and then me and my older cousin and best friend, we ended up at Waffle House that night, so it was good.”
Travis Denning (hangover cure) OC: …me better. :17
“You know, I think my hangover cure is just sitting on my butt, [laughs] not doing anything. Drink some water, a cup of coffee, but usually anything greasy or just some big ole Mexican food that’ll get me at least to a nap, which will get me better.”
Travis Denning (wants to get dressed up for New Year’s Eve) OC: …good for it. :13
“No matter what I do for New Year’s Eve, I want to get dressed up. I want to wear a suit. I want to get real snazzied up, and I don’t care if I’m just going to a bar. Like, it’s New Year’s Eve, let’s look good for it.”