Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Each year, the museum invites a noted artist or musician to give a series of performances in the Ford Theater. This artist or musician has a strong connection to country music or has a sense of country music's contribution in general to American culture.
Buddy is also featured in the museum's newly expanded core exhibit, Sing Me Back Home.
Buddy and his wife Julie have written songs that have been recorded by Brooks & Dunn, the Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Lee Ann Womack and many others. All you die-hard Dierks fans will remember fondly, "My Love Will Follow You," which the Millers co-wrote and Dierks recorded on his first self-titled album.
My love will follow you, down every highway of your soul
You can leave me for behind, but my love will be your shadow everywhere you go
His production credits include albums by Patty Griffin and Robert Plant, and he's touring with both this summer.
Miller was named artist of the decade for the 2000s by No Depression magazine.
Coming in at #1: 'Up on the Ridge,' Dierks Bentley
Take your country music talent, mix in a heap of the bluegrass artistry you've always adored, call on several of the artists you most admire to make guest appearances and you have the makings of a sure-fire hit. An album that's likely to blast Dierks into the big leagues, featuring a title track about what sure sounds like romance and dark mystery, 'Up on the Ridge' features guest vocals by Alison Krauss. Get ready for this to become a summertime anthem.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Dierks' show in Richland Center, WI was awesome! We started out the day early leaving Dekalb, IL at around 7:30. My boyfriend Dave (J3alz), my mom (Tooner1977) and my dad made the 3 hour drive up to the venue. When the gates opened we set up our lawn chairs up in a pretty good spot about 2nd or 3rd row from the stage minus the photo line.
There were a lot of great performers there that day besides Dierks like Josh Thompson, Patty Loveless, Jimmy Wayne and Darryl Worely. We found out a while back that Dierks' former guitar player Rod Janzen is now playing with Josh Thompson. It was nice seeing him again!
I loved when Patty Loveless came out and surprised Jimmy Wayne and sang part of Stay Gone with him. I was hoping she would do the same with Dierks but she never came back out!
(Jimmy Wayne and Patty Loveless)
I was so happy that all of us got chosen for a meet and greet with Dierks! There were about 12 of us that got to go back. We chatted with a guy from Wisconsin in line and Karen (Raye Fan) from IL. It was great to chat with fellow DB Congress members!
When it was my turn to meet Dierks I had my picture from this year's Last Call Ball for him to sign. Since the LCB that came to Chicago in 2008 he has remembered me for a shirt that says "With the band" or "I'm with the band" on it. I wore an "Im with the Band" shirt to this years LCB so that's how he remembered me again.
Then after we took our M&G picture I told him how much I loved his new CD since I didn't get a chance to tell him at LCB. He started naming off songs that he was singing from the new CD and I asked him about Pride. I am also a big U2 fan and LOVED that he "grassed" it up. I knew my chances of him singing it that night were slim to none but I had to ask. He said that he needed to practice it a little more with the boys and that he needed Del to sing it with him.
My time was up before I knew it and it was time for the group shot and the Q&A. During the Q&A Karen(Raye Fan) also told him how much she liked UOTR and wanted to know what songs he was going to sing. He said they were doing UOTR and Love Grows Wild then his mind went back to Pride. He mentioned how I wanted to hear it, and it being too high for him to sing and maybe Patty would sing it with him?
When the M&G was over we went and watched Darryl Worley's set and soon enough it was time for Dierks!!! He opened with Up On The Ridge and played most if not all of his hits including Feel That Fire, What Was I Thinkin', Long Trip Alone, How Am I Doin', and Lot of Leavin' Left To do. He also threw in some surprise songs like Cab of my Truck, Little Heartwrecker and covers like All my Ex's Live in Texas and East Bound and Down.
He sang only two songs from UOTR like he said he was going to. During HAID I think some locals started spraying silly string at one of the security guards. D got a kick out of that and joined in! I can't wait until our next Dierks concert which won't be until Rockford, IL in September! I know it seems close but so far away for this avid Dierks Bentley fan!
Here is a video Kristin took from the show: East Bound and Down--We gonna do what they say can't be done. I can't help but wonder if Dierks added this to the set list as a hidden message. We're gonna do the bluegrass album even though they say it can't be done. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there...Up On The Ridge is at #24 on the charts...a long way to go to get to #1! But DB Congress is gonna make it happen, right?
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Bud goes Up On the Ridge
It's June 8: Do you have your copy of Up On the Ridge yet?
In case my early praise wasn't enough to sway you, I've asked an uber-fan to step in as guest blogger today to offer you his own review. I gave him the template, but the assessments are all his own.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you - Bud:
I like Dierks Bentley's CD Up On the Ridge because it makes me happy.
My favorite song on the CD is "Up On the Ridge." I like it because it's very awesome.
My second favorite song on the CD is "Fiddlin' Around." I like it because it makes me good.
Some other songs on the CD that I like are "Rovin' Gambler" and "Fallin' for You."
The instruments that I like hearing on the CD are a guitar and mandolin.
I think people should listen to Up On the Ridge because it's nice.
The best thing about Dierks Bentley is (he's) the best man ever.
Check out the MOM-NOS blog for the hand-written version of Bud's review!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
*Trip for two (2) to Louisville, Ky.
*Round-trip coach airfare for two (2) to Louisville, Ky.
*Three night (3) hotel stay in Louisville, Ky.
*Two (2) all access VIP passes to the HullabaLOU Music Festival.
*Two (2) meet-and-greet passes for Dierks Bentley.
*One (1) Dierks Bentley prize pack.
Other artists to perform that day include Bon Jovi, Gladys Knight, Doobie Brothers, Gloriana, Sam Bush, and The Travelin' McCourys with Dan Tyminski and more.
Enter to win here. But hurry! Last day to enter is July 8th!
A superstar line-up, including Dierks Bentley, will contribute to a new compilation CD to benefit The Fisher House foundation. My Country: Smash Hits will be released on August 24 and also includes a special message from President George W. Bush. Other artists on the album include: Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Darius Rucker, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Rodney Atkins, Jypsi, Randy Houser, Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry.
Legendary Doonesbury creator, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, has graciously donated a special cartoon and designed the cover of MY COUNTRY: SMASH HITS.
The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the military, both active and retired, as well as the families of military personnel who are receiving treatment at a military medical center. Fisher House Foundation has a network of 50 comfort homes in the United States. Each facility is 5,000 to 16,000 square feet, with as many as 21 suites, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs by the Fisher House Foundation. There is NO FEE to stay at these homes.
The project is a multiple CD series with each annual volume benefiting the Fisher House Foundation.
It comes at no surprise that our DB Congress President is participating in a project to benefit our US Military in some way. Dierks has always shown his appreciation for our troops--like when he sings "My Last Name" in concert, which is the song he contributes to this album (Track 12).
For details and to listen to the preview of the track listing, click here.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I think mainstream radio would actually play this one! What do you think?
ALBUM: UP ON THE RIDGE (Capitol Nashville)
The surest way to scare country radio programmers is to hand them something that puts the genre's roots in the storefront window. If that's true, then Dierks Bentley's latest album, "Up on the Ridge," is the aural equivalent of an encounter with Freddy Krueger. The title track/lead single has been warmly received, but the rest of the album is entirely too rootsy for broad appreciation by the country programing community. But for lovers of contemporary bluegrass and country music's Appalachian roots, "Up on the Ridge" is a thrilling ride from start to finish. Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert seamlessly blend their renaissance talents with Bentley's on the song "Bad Angel," while Kris Kristofferson's world-weary vocals bring added depth and authenticity to the down-and-outer anthem "Bottle to the Bottom." And the standout track is the gripping coal-mining ballad "Down in the Mine." It's unlikely that country radio will champion this album, but somewhere in the great beyond, Bill Monroe is smiling approvingly.
Now, Del McCoury is on my radar. So when I read about him winning National awards, I feel compelled to share this article from thetennessean.com:
Del McCoury gets national heritage fellowship: Famed bluegrass musician and Grand Ole Opry member Del McCoury is among this year's recipients of the nation's highest folk and traditional arts honor, the National Endowment for the Arts' NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
McCoury first came to bluegrass attention in the early 1960s as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys band. At 71, he remains a leader in the field: His Grammy-winning Del McCoury Band is a headlining act and he contributes other-worldly high harmonies on Dierks Bentley's revamp of U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)."
As one of the nine Heritage Fellowship recipients, McCoury will receive an award of $25,000.
*Special thanks to Meg for finding the story!
DB Congress Chair
Fellow DB Congress rep Ann was interviewed and the Herald Tribune quoted her in this article (excerpt below):
The Rays are averaging about 22,000 fans a game this season -- one of the lowest in the majors. But when there's a concert on a Saturday night, the 36,000-seat Trop often fills to the brim. And it gets loud.
Take June 12, for example. It was "Country Night," with Dierks Bentley.
The Rays warmed up the crowd of 29,963 with a 6-5 win over the Florida Marlins. Then fans -- many of whom stuck around after the final out -- got to "Come a Little Closer" to Bentley.
"Sometimes these acts don't play to more than 10,000 people," says Brian Killingsworth, senior director of marketing for the Rays. "Here, they get to play to up to 30,000. It's great exposure for them, and it's even better for the fans."
The concert series has come a long way since 2008, when it featured mostly oldies acts, such as The Commodores, Loverboy and MC Hammer. (Bradenton's We the Kings were the only newcomers to play that year.) It proved to be a winning combination: The Rays went 8-0 during the concert series, and attendance went through the domed roof.
As word spread of the series' success, the Rays were able to attract bigger names. In 2009, the lineup included The Beach Boys, The B-52's, Ludacris, Flo Rida and Daughtry.
"Daughtry was an example of where everything went perfect," Rossi says. "He put on a killer show, and even the players were excited about it. (All-Star third baseman) Evan Longoria, who's not very excitable, was like a schoolkid. He went to Daughtry's dressing room before the game to get his autograph."
This year, the Rays have lost just one Summer Concert Series game (when ZZ Top performed). John Fogerty, Nelly, Daryl Hall & John Oates and Bentley have all seen wins.
Fans are eating it up.
They begin lining up during the sixth inning near the outfield exits. About 5,000 are allowed on the field; others stay in their seats or move closer. When the game ends, they sprint from each side of the field to the centerfield stage.
"We're always here first," says Jason Anderson, who drove from Fort Myers with childhood friend James Gustafson to see Brooks & Dunn at 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre the night before the Bentley show.
"I drove here two hours just to see Dierks," says Ann Martin of Altamonte Springs. "I've seen him 19 times -- even went to Nashville to watch him get inducted into the Grand Ole Opry."After three years of post-game concerts, the Rays and Ruth Eckerd Hall crews are a well-oiled machine. From a garage behind centerfield, they anxiously watch the final outs on a TV.
"The last two outs, I really get into a zone," says Kevin Stone, entertainment manager for Ruth Eckerd Hall, as he paces near the 24-by-35-foot rolling stage.
Reliever Rafael Soriano makes the last out, the crowd roars, the lights go down, and Stone yells "Let's roll!" to his staff.
Some of the 30-man crew wheel open the outfield doors; a Rays Hummer emerges, quickly parking in front of the stage. Workers hitch it, and the Hummer slowly rolls the stage to the middle of the field.
Meanwhile, fans stream in from both sides. A forklift delivers the mixing board; workers roll out the speakers, some of which will be raised high above the stage for optimum sound. Technicians make a quick sound check for guitars and mics.
All told, it takes about 25 minutes to get everything in place. Once they're finished, they're forced to wait on the star.
"We're on Dierks time now," one worker says.
Five minutes later, Bentley strolls onto the field with his band mates. They huddle behind the stage for a pep talk from Bentley. They join hands, and Bentley shouts "Let's get tropical!"
The band rushes to the stage, and Bentley waits alone backstage.
"I've played to crowds this big before," he says, "but I still get nervous. This is such a big deal for us."
It's a big deal to fans, too. They relish the relaxed atmosphere; many crowd the stage, others sit on the field, some dance. Few leave.
A perfect ending to a perfect evening.
"milwaukee/summerfest, you think i could afford a longer shirt at this point in my career! thx for insane night #fb"
Funny, I keep saying that about your pants, D! You'd think by now you'd have enough money to buy a new pair of black jeans!
Dierks performs in Wisconsin again tonight in Richland Center (Star Spangled Celebration). Look for all our WI dbcongress reps to be front and center: dierksbentleyTWO, dierksfan76, TiffNMiles, KellyDB, freeneasy, aroseluvsdierks, DB4evah, kelly310, kris4dierks, sweetandwild, jewelgirl32, ripley132, AndreaDBfan, CherBear1119, kimberlyw4499, and allstar21.
Already hailed as “the best country recording we’ll hear in 2010” (Washington Post), All Things Considered followed suit, calling Bentley’s new bluegrass-influenced release UP ON THE RIDGE “timeless.” You can listen and download the segment below. Other NPR shows are lining up to feature Bentley’s newest release this summer with planned performances on Mountain Stage and eTown.
UP ON THE RIDGE continues to receive glowing reviews, recently called “sterling” by Rolling Stone and “authentic” by the Dallas Morning News.
“Incredibly beautiful and bright record.” New York Post
“A masterpiece? Absolutely.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A significant step forward in Bentley’s evolution as a songwriter and singer.” Los Angeles Times
“Up on the Ridge comprises ambitious covers executed with modesty and respect, magnanimous co-writes and a loving attention to sonic detail; a true celebration of the state of modern country.” Paste Magazine
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Apparently he also participated in helping Hands On Nashville, an organization whose most recent project is to lead flood recovery efforts in the Nashville area through volunteers. This message is posted on their website: "Hands On Nashville (HON) expresses sincere gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who are leading flood recovery efforts. Your incredible gifts of time and talent showcase the spirit of Middle Tennessee."
"going to be singing love grows wild at 845 central on the @Todayshow. #fb"
"Great morning hanging out with @todayshow and all the volunteers to help out @honashville"
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We've written about Randy before (remember when they had their instruments stolen?), but this time is different. He actually stumbled upon dbcongress.com and sent us an email!
"I was tracking chart positions and gathering reviews on my new CD and stumbled upon the site. Consider me one of the fold! I am proud to be on several of Dierks' CDs including the new bluegrass one too."Wait--what? Randy Kohrs is emailing me? The same Randy Kohrs that plays the killer Tricone Dobro on Draw Me A Map, and the meticulous Metal Body Dobro on Bad Angel? And the same Randy Kohrs who has released six albums of his own!
His new CD, “Quicksand” was the most played CD on Sirius/XM last month (acoustic) and is steadily doing well. At week two of its release, it was on 5 different genre’s charts ranging from Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Americana and Gospel.
"I am very lucky to have 6 CD’s out. My latest being “Quicksand.” In acoustic music the fanbase is much smaller so we sell thousands instead of millions on CD’s. It is easy to get lost in the sea of press from major artists."
As if recording his own albums and gigging as a studio musician on many of Dierks's albums isn't enough, Randy Kohrs says his recording studio keeps him busy throughout the week. "I produce other artists like Jim Lauderdale and recently Blue Moon Rising, more than I travel anymore," he told me, although he did make two appearances at the CMA Music Fest.
Randy says he and Dierks have been good friends and played together at least once week way before Dierks ever signed a publishing deal and that he's glad to see Dierks doing well.
You can check out The Randy Kohrs Band on The Grand Ole Opry Friday night, June 25 (Randy's birthday!) Listen on line at wsmonline.com or 650 AM. Song samples are available on randykohrs.com. I can't wait to hear the entire Quicksand CD!
Oh, and next time you listen to Down In The Mine, think of Randy when you hear the sweet sound of the Weissenborn! That's him!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Dierks and the boys performed acoustically and DB used Twitter to help tell the story:
we've literally brought the "ridge" to @JimmyKimmelLive. power is out!!!! very spooky backstage. #fb
an hour later...
so...one of the craziest tv nights ever. long story short, it will air tomorrow. who knew you could shoot a late night show with a mac?! #fb
14 hours later...
the closest I'll ever come to getting "couch time" on tv. @JimmyKimmelLive
Monday, June 21, 2010
Pretty crazy information, I know. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I do recall "I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes" stalling around the top 20 as well. So, while I'm not entirely worried, I am concerned, and I am calling for an Act of Congress! Below you'll find a list of the 125 stations that report to Billboard for their Hot Country Songs (click the picture to enlarge). I want all 600 of us to commit to finding our closest radio station(s) on the list, and do the following:
1. Do they have a daily countdown show you can vote on? If so, vote for UOTR!
2. Find your favorite DJ's email address, and email them.
3. Call the request line, and request the song.
4. Find the station on Yes.com, thank them for supporting Dierks, and ask them to play UOTR more.
I think we have a lot we can learn from other fans, too. The Gary Allan fans, for instance, make a concerted effort on Yes.com to determine which stations aren't playing his current song as much as others. If it's about 15 or higher on a station, they "yes" the song and move on. If it's lower than 15, they make an effort to request it on that particular station, etc. They also know which stations have daily countdowns, and they all vote at least once a day (and trust me, they get Gary to #1 often!), and they all vote on GAC and CMT for the videos, too.
So what are we waiting for, Congress? Let's push "Ridge" up, up, UP the charts where it belongs! Hopefully I will be back next week with more positive news!
~ Carrie S. (DBC Rep/Chart Reporter ~ NC)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"view from backstage at telluride...about to walk out there. can u say nervous!?"
"back to business in OHIO....can we do one more?!?"
After the Tampa Bay Rays game in St. Pete, Florida, nearly all of the 30,000 Rays fans stayed either in the stands or came down onto Tropicana Field to hear Dierks! I was there on the field and was so proud to have so much support for Dierks in my home town! When Dierks first came on stage, he was so flabbergasted--he just stood there and mouthed, "are you kidding me?" By the way, we won the game that night!
Dierks Bentley Up On The Ridge
Dierks Bentley recently released his brand new bluegrass-inspired album Up On The Ridge on June 8. Prior to the album hitting shelves, Dierks hit the road on a whirlwind schedule to play 24 shows in 30 days as part of his "Up On The Ridge Tour." Dierks was backed by the critically acclaimed Travelin' McCourys (the Del McCoury Band minus Del) featuring Ron McCoury on mandolin, Rob McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass. The final night of the tour brought Dierks and crew back home to Nashville to play the historic Ryman Auditorium. The show features Dierks and band performing some of his biggest hits while also showcasing songs from his new album, and some surprises along the way! Don't miss this one-of-a-kind concert special on GAC!
The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating its 85th anniversary. Which of these Opry moments is your favorite?
*Carrie Underwood’s invitation from Randy Travis to join the Opry family
*The show going on after the Grand Ole Opry House was flooded
*Little Jimmy Dickens climbing a ladder to invite Trace Adkins to become an Opry member
*Josh Turner’s Opry debut performing "Long Black Train"
*Marty Stuart asking Dierks Bentley to ‘marry’ the Opry and become a member
Hint: The last answer is the one to vote for here!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Dierks Bentley to hold annual Last Call Ball
Friday, 04 June 2010 written by Rick Amburgey
Dierks Bentley will hold the Last Call Ball again on June 9, but it’s going to be more than just another fan club party. That’s because this year’s event will also double as a CD release party for his new CD, “Up On The Ridge.” It’s not just limited to members of his fan club and everyone who purchases a $25 ticket to the event, which will be held at Limelight, will receive a copy of the CD.
Ronna Clark, of Brandon, Florida, is the DB Fan Congress chair, which Clark describes as similar to Bentley’s street team. She started DB Congress and said it’s grown from six members to 600 in three years. It was originally started to help promote Bentley and his music.
“Around 2007, “Long Trip Alone” the song was on the CMT Top 20 video countdown, and about half a dozen of us fan club members were voting daily on cmt.com to try to get it to move up to the #1 spot,” she said. “But that was not nearly enough people, and I realized it was going to take an “act of congress” to get the video to # 1 (which we accomplished for three consecutive weeks.)” Clark said the name of the DB Congress was actually inspired by a quote Dierks gave in a 2006 interview.
Clark said the Last Call Ball is one of her favorite events of the year. She describes it as special because it’s the only time of the year that members are virtually guaranteed to meet Bentley. She said that originally only 100 members were going to be able to meet Bentley this year, but he changed it to include all 250 members who registered to attend the event. Fan club members do get a chance at a meet and greet at concerts, but only 20 names are drawn for each concert meet and greet.
Read the rest of the article here.
Everyone send lots of thanks to Rick for helping us promote our prez., Dierks Bentley! stummagazine.com gets over a million page views a month--that's a lot of exposure for DB!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
This week, Dierks Bentley's "Up on the Ridge" moved up to #24 on both Mediabase and Billboard, which was a move of 4 spots and 1 spot, respectively. It's still experiencing positive growth on both charts, with 9 new stations adding it, slightly more than 300 more spins than last week, and audience growth that is very, very close to 2 million new listeners. This next week, it will be feeling heat from new singles from Lady A and Billy Currington which are rising very, very quickly, so I'm not anticipating very much movement, in spite of continuous growth.
The Billboard Country Update includes information from Callout America, which is a survey similar to Rate the Music. Perhaps not surprisingly, "Up on the Ridge" is currently the most polarized song on the radio -- people pretty much either love it or hate it! It's only in its 2nd week showing on the Callout chart, so I'm hopeful that as more stations play it, and people hear it more, that some of the "hate it" will at least move to neutral. But it's very interesting to see how well the song is doing despite a rather ... tepid ... public opinion. To me, that says that the folks at radio are the ones that are pushing this song, and we should do everything we can do to encourage that. Thank them for playing it every chance you get! Call, email, tweet, or thank them on Yes.com.
Keep up the great work, Congress. I still believe there is plenty of room on Country radio for a little bluegrass-ish influence!
~ Carrie S. (DBC Rep/Chart Reporter - NC)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Walking a Country Mile With Dierks Bentley
The Up-and-Coming Sensation in Country Music With Seven No. 1 Hits Comes on Like, Well, a Rock Star
Dierks Bentley flirted with rock, but when he heard the legendary Hank Williams Jr., "Right away, I knew I wanted to play country music." He's has seven Number One hits since.
The distinctive voice of Dierks Bentley is being heard these days all over the world of country music. Kelly Cobiella travels with the up-and-comer:
"Oh my God it's Dierks Bentley!" screams one young woman.
With a name like Dierks Bentley, was there ever any doubt what this man would do for a living?
"I've heard 'adult film star,' too, that's been mentioned as a possibility for that name!" he said. "But I don't know - I'm happy with the career that I'm in."
The career he's in is country music, and 34-year-old Dierks Bentley is a rising star.
In less than a decade he's had seven Number One singles on the country charts, selling millions of records and earning a reputation as a man who hits the stage … well, like a rock star.
"It's music, but it's also like a sporting event for me," he said on the bus in Dallas. "It's like trying to get a win."
"Where do you think your music falls in the world of country music?" asked Cobiella.
"A lot of stuff's rowdy and fun and up-tempo and reflects the kind of guy that I am," he said. "I'm definitely a regular dude's kind of dude."
And like lots of regular dudes, he grew up out West, in Phoenix.
"Typical suburban home, great family," Bentley said. "There was always music playing in the house. And my dad loved country music.
"And you're like, 'Well, dad likes it, that's pretty cool.' Of course later I thought it was terrible because my dad liked it!" he laughed.
Dierks flirted with rock - his first concert was Bon Jovi - and even went through a Billy Idol phase ...
"I just kept exploring," he said. "I mean, I knew I loved music. But I was just always trying to find what it was that did it for me."
Then one night in high school, he heard country legend Hank Williams Jr. "Right away, I knew I wanted to play country music."
And play it in one place:
"I was like, 'I gotta go. I gotta get to Nashville. One way or another I gotta get down there.'"
So he enrolled at Vanderbilt University, and began exploring the capital of country music. But the dude from Arizona found he didn't fit in.
"Everyone's wearin' a cowboy hat, you know, everyone's got on a superstar shirt. So right away I was like, 'OK, that's not gonna work for me, 'cause I can't be what I'm not.'"What did work for him was the simplicity of the bluegrass music he found at The Station Inn, where he still likes to drop in on a set.
He starting coming in when he was 19 ("I had a good fake ID").
"It wasn't about the clothes. It wasn't about the hair. It wasn't about the smoke or lights or the effects or the amplifier. It was just about playing music and having a good time with your buddies," he said.
By day he got a different education, working in the video library of The Nashville Network, then a cable channel, looking at the greats . . . and dreaming big.
"If you have a Plan B, your Plan B will become your Plan A," he said. "So, don't have one. And I really didn't."His Plan A happened sooner than he ever imagined. Bentley landed a recording contract, and his first single, "What Was I Thinkin'," made it to Number One on the country charts.
Soon he was making hits - more mainstream than bluegrass - and traveling the road to stardom.
"All I've ever wanted is just to be on a stage somewhere, playing music and really just be on a bus," he said in New York.
He certainly found the right profession for THAT.
"First couple of years, we'd play over 300 shows a year," he said. "The road would be a nightmare if you didn't love playing music, my gosh!"
That's no problem for Dierks. You'll find him strumming before, during, and after the show.
"I just love playing. I love singing. I like the sound of my own of my own voice. I'm not afraid to admit that!"And his fans aren't afraid to show him some love - especially the ladies. When Cobiella suggested he was "sort of a flirt out there" on stage, he laughed.
"You'd call that flirting. I'd call it connecting with the audience."
His deepest connection, though, is back in Nashville with his wife Cassidy and their daughter Evie. Dierks has known Cassidy since middle school, but they only got serious a few years ago.
"It's an amazing story, our relationship and where it started," he said. "What we have is a great marriage and a great love."
It's that foundation that's echoed in his latest album, "Up on the Ridge," out last week - a return to the fiddles and mandolins of the bluegrass music he
"For me personally, this album's more of just me going back to, you know, my roots in Nashville. It's me going back and reclaiming some of the ground I think is mine."Dierks Bentley . . . following a country road, wherever it leads him.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Draw Me A Map (part 1):
Draw Me A Map (part 2):
Luckily I found a cool spot right in front of a huge fan, since as tradition would have it, it was 150 degrees in there! They played for about 90 minutes!
The meet and greet started around 12:44 and went all the way to 3 a.m.! It was so great to not get "kicked out" as soon as your turn was over. That way I was able to spend some time with all my DB Congress friends and meet some new ones!
It was great to finally meet our DBC Secretary, Amanda and her mamma! Amanda & me:
Good to see Heather, Beth, Stephanie, David, Jodi, Jayme, Lee Ann, Angie, Bonnie, Janet, Holly, Jessica, Jackie, Jacinta, Kristen, Sue, Jane, Rachelle, Joelle, Kim, and Kristin (Thanks for giving me a ride!) I am sure I am forgetting many others--so sorry! We also got to meet Morgan from the fan club administration. Cool to put a face with a name and she could not have been nicer!
Me & Heather:
Me, Steph & Beth:
Jayme, me, Jodi: And it was great to meet new DBC rep, Travis, who came all the way from California. It was his first time meeting Dierks and he said it had been the trip of a lifetime so far! I had an opportunity to introduce him to David, one of our most active DBC reps! David had the DB Congress flag flying high in the parking lot as usual!
We each received a goody bag with a LCB6 Tshirt and an UOTR bottle hugger. It was a great Last Call Ball, and even though it was late, it was well worth every minute! And the fans had to correct Dierks when he said welcome to LCB5---six!
I look forward to the day he says, "Welcome to Last Call Ball 27!"
If you were there, please leave a comment and let us know about your experience!
Dierks Bentley's 'Up On the Ridge' a career twist and return
Published by Peter Cooper on June 12, 2010
"Seven years into a music career that has been steadily gaining momentum with rock-tinged contemporary country radio hits, Bentley has just issued a mostly acoustic, bluegrass-tinged album called Up On the Ridge. It is both a departure and a homeward return for Bentley, whose radio singles have been mostly amped-up affairs but whose primary musical inspirations are acoustic players who perform at his favorite club, Nashville’s Station Inn.
“In Nashville, it’s a constant game of momentum and trying to climb up one more rung, and you have to lock in to one thing and then beat everyone over the head with a certain brand you’re trying to sell,” Bentley said. “But you also have to remember why you moved to town. You start asking yourself, ‘Am I leaving behind my best music? Am I challenging myself?’”
These days, Bentley is challenging himself.
Teaming with producer Jon Randall Stewart — a virtuoso musician best known for his work with Emmylou Harris and for co-writing the Brad Paisley/Alison Krauss hit “Whiskey Lullaby” — Bentley brought acoustic music masters including Krauss, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Chris Thile and Sam Bush into the studio and created a song set that has already won raves from USA Today, The Washington Post, Music Row, People and other publications.
Billboard country chart manager Wade Jessen called the album “an achievement.” But Jessen also called it “off the menu” for radio programmers.
“It’s going to scare the bejeezus out of country radio,” Jessen said. “I hope I’m wrong about that. Here’s a guy that is front-and-center, that has the fans’ attention. In a perfect world, if he had one or two really big hits from this album, that could make a ripple in this town. People could go, ‘Wow, people have responded to intelligent songwriting and basic acoustic instrumentation.’”
‘It was time’
Such fine things have indeed happened in the past. In 2003, the Dixie Chicks were having hits with plaintive, acoustic-based material from an album called Home, right up until the time lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President George W. Bush and programmers reacted by immediately removing the Chicks from the popular airwaves. And the most obvious template for Up On the Ridge is Emmylou Harris’ 1980 set Roses in the Snow, an album that introduced Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice and others to country radio listeners and helped set into motion the neo-traditionalist movement of the 1980s. But 1980 . . . that’s three decades, or roughly 1 and 1/2 Taylor Swifts ago.
“I’ve had people around me say, ‘You’re going to have to be comfortable with the fact that you might be removing yourself from the country radio world for a little bit,” Bentley said. “And I’m not comfortable with that. I love being on the radio. I love playing big shows, in front of large crowds. But the truth is, it’s the most ‘country’ record I’ve made. And it was time to make a record like this, to throw myself into it completely and go on faith.”
Thus far, the whole thing seems to be working. The title track is the album’s first single, and it is now among the top 30 Billboard Hot Country Singles after seven weeks on the charts. That’s a pace akin to many of Bentley’s earlier hits, but “Up On the Ridge” is also by far the song most similar in sound and structure to the singer-songwriter’s past efforts.
“The question was, ‘How do we create an acoustic records that Dierks’ fans will dig?’” said Stewart, who writes and records under the name “Jon Randall” and also occasionally answers to “J.R.,” “Randy” and “Whispers.” “It was actually a lot of pressure, and I didn’t want to be the guy that ruined his career. But we just finished doing some touring, and it was really cool to watch people in these honky-tonks hearing this music for the first time and being really receptive. They loved it.”
‘Authentic and cool’
Bentley became aware and enamored of acoustic music at the age of 19, when he and his fake I.D. slipped inside the Station Inn. He was a Vanderbilt student at the time, and he had heard plenty of country music but practically nothing that leaned toward bluegrass, country’s banjo-picking, fiddle-wielding, all-acoustic cousin. At the Station Inn, he heard The Sidemen, a band of accomplished players that included Terry Eldredge, who would become one of Bentley’s biggest influences.
“I didn’t even know what bluegrass was, but I recognized something authentic and cool,” Bentley said. “I remember seeing guys on stage wearing baggy jeans and white sneakers, with big belt buckles. I went, ‘It’s obviously not about posturing.’ But the combined power of those instruments and the vibe of the whole room made it feel like the coolest spot in town.”
Each of Bentley’s four previous studio albums featured a bluegrass-rooted song, but the singles released to radio featured layered, contemporary country arrangements. And the live shows have been sweaty, run-around-the-stage affairs from the beginning. Last year, Bentley’s touring show was — like nearly every major country star’s concert — an exercise in successful repetition. As with Broadway shows, the goal was to do the same thing quite well each night.
“You’ve got a lighting director, guitar techs, a video director and you’re locked in to doing the same thing in order for it to work,” he said. “Once the show starts and it’s running, you can’t step off of it. There’s no way to ad-lib. And people expect a live show to have all those bells and whistles. You never want to lose somebody’s attention, and you want to dictate what your crowd is going through. It’s scary to step away from that and open up the show to anything being possible, like taking requests and even dead air. When I’m touring the acoustic show, I’m trusting that when country fans hear these instruments played properly, they’re going to dig ’em.”
This summer, Bentley will do some festival shows that include his usual band, complete with full drums, electric bass and electric guitar. And he’ll do some shows with a band that can present the Up On the Ridge material as well as acoustic versions of many past hits. As for the fall, well, he’s not sure.
“We’ll see what kind of interest this album produces, and we’ll get off the grid a little and let the music decide where it is going to go,” he said. “And I have no idea what the next album will be like.”
Already, the music is going to places Bentley hasn’t been before. CBS Sunday Morning is profiling Bentley and the story of his album, and Up On the Ridge is getting a critical reception beyond anything he’s released until now.
“This may not win any CMA Awards, but I think there’s a Grammy in his future,” Billboard’s Jessen said.
The bluegrass world is watching with interest as well, because so many stars of the genre are involved and because mainstream exposure to the music often leads to sales booms: Think O Brother, Where Art Thou? or Flatt & Scruggs’ Beverly Hillbillies theme song.
“This could be a big deal for a number of reasons,” said International Bluegrass Music Association executive director Dan Hays. “But there’s a piece of it that’s a little puzzling. For Dierks to want to pull what’s in his heart out and put it on an album and tour with it is a wonderful gesture, but that’s what artists should be doing. That should be the norm, rather than us scratching our heads and wondering, ‘How does this happen?’”
But people do wonder. Sometimes Bentley ponders the practical wisdom of his choice, though he doesn’t question the artistic vision or the finished product.
It tickles him to no end to hear Tim O’Brien’s harmony vocal and mandolin on “You’re Dead to Me,” or Del McCoury’s soaring vocal presence on the album’s acoustic version of U2’s “Pride (In The Name Of Love).” And he figures that if he has stepped off one escalator, he may have found one that heads to what is, for now at least, a more interesting floor."
Reach Peter Cooper at 615–259-8220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dierks Bentley barely slept three hours Wednesday night and he was back up and signing autographs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Thursday at 2:30 pm. After a long night at his own fan club/CD release party of posing for pics and autographing everything from boots to tatoos, he didn't head for home until around 3 am. That's when I left, too, along with many fan clubbers who also stayed to the bitter-sweet end.
While I was fortunate to get a few more hours sleep, Dierks was not so lucky. Daughter Evie had him up at 6:30 a.m. he told one of the CMHOF fans. But he wasn't complaining--he loves his little girl!
Lunch in the Sobro Grill (in the atrium of the CMHOF) was delicious! I finally met Steve Morley (CW) in person after all the support he has given Dierks and DB Congress over the last few years in the magazine. He brought me a copy hot off the press of the June 21 issue with Dierks on the cover!
Before waiting in line in The Hall's beautiful atrium, I was able to take a quick tour to see some of the new exhibits in the museum. I told my friend Keith who works there and walked me around, that I could tie just about any exhibit to Dierks. Like the first one we came to--a glass case with Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert memorabilia. "Did you know that Dierks has a song, Bad Angel, on his new album which both Miranda and Jamey each sing a verse along with harmonies?" Now why isn't Dierks in that exhibit or any other CMHOF exhibit? I think DB Congress reps need to send a request to The Hall to change that!
After the tour, I visited the ladies room and I was so shocked to see Dierks in there!
The line moved out of the atrium and into the gift shop and the whole place erupted with cheers when Dierks walked in.
When it was my turn, I handed over my voucher, but we were only allowed to have him sign the CD cover, so I was sad I couldn't bring the new Country Weekly with him on the cover.
I congratulated him for being on the cover and he asked how the picture was and something about his hair never looks good on those covers, but I said "It's a good picture--your hair was combed." He said, "I haven't had a comb in my hair in years!" When I first walked up he said it meant so much to him that we were there last night (LCB) AND also came here to the Hall of Fame. I told him I'd see him in St. Pete after the Rays game Saturday night and he said, "Oh, yeah, your home town!" How does he remember that kind of stuff?!
We took a pic--my first ever hug pic with Dierks!
Thanks to DBC rep, Meg, here is a video of Dierks walking in to the gift shop. It's about 1:40 minutes in, after the Miranda fan club segment. You can see me in the pink shirt at about the 1:50 mark, right before they interview Tina.
Thank you CMHOF for having Dierks sign two years in a row! Let's make it a tradition every year! But in 2011, we expect to see a DB exhibit, too!
"Suzi Ragsdale, whose latest two-CD set, Best Regards/Less of the Same, continues to garner airplay at Americana radio, will have one of her songs featured on multi-platinum singer Dierks Bentley's upcoming CD, Up on the Ridge, set for release on June 8 by Capitol Nashville.
Ragsdale's track (co-written by Verlon Thompson), "Bad Angel," features Dierks Bentley joined by special guest vocalists Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson, two other powerhouses of country music. The song originally appeared on the Ragsdale/Thompson album, Out of Our Hands.
"I feel like I've found the proverbial magic lamp and the genie has granted my three wishes: Dierks, Miranda and Jamey," said Ragsdale upon hearing her song for the first time as it was performed on the new CD.
At a recent advance listening party for the new CD on Nashville's Music Row, celebrated music journalist Robert Oermann declared: "The bluesy 'Bad Angel,' featuring hair-raising, triple-whammy vocals by Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson, is already a contender for Vocal Collaboration of the Year, in my opinion. I never wanted it to end."
DB Congress Chair