Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"I Hold On" Holds on For #1!

On Monday, March 24th, "I Hold On" became Dierks Bentley's 11th chart-topper, reaching the summit on both the Mediabase/Aircheck and Billboard Airplay charts. It was, to some, a sweet victory after radio essentially rejected "Bourbon in Kentucky" last year, but that didn't make the climb to the top any easier while it was happening. After 31 long weeks, it finally made it to the top. Woohoo!

I was a bit surprised he snagged the #1 this week, since Blake Shelton's "Doin' What She Likes" was sitting pretty at #1 up until Thursday morning. Apparently Dierks calling to request "I Hold On" on the Bobby Bones Show multiple times - and Bobby kindly playing it - did the trick! As it was, Dierks *just* squeaked ahead and finished a mere 141,000 in audience ahead of Blake on Billboard. Whew, that was close! (No worries, Blake fans - he'll be at #1 this coming week.)

"I Hold On" isn't quite done yet - in sales, that is. After his televised performance during January's Orange Bowl, the sales picked up big time, and the song is just a mere week or two away from hitting 500,000 in sales and GOLD certification. Woohoo, again!

As we all know, this is a hugely personal song for Dierks, and we all knew that the song going to #1 would be a moment filled with immense pride. Sure enough, Dierks tweeted the following on Monday morning:

thank YOU for calling/tweeting Country Radio. I Hold On is the number 1 song in the country today! this one means more to me than any other.

Later on Monday, he posted the following message for his fans (see video below).

Congratulations, Dierks! We know your Dad is smiling in Heaven!

Now we just wait to see what the next single will be. Any ideas, Congress? We should know within the next two weeks... and hopefully this single won't take 31 weeks to make it to the top! ;)

~ Carrie Srebro
DBC Rep/Chart Reporter ~ NC:

Friday, March 21, 2014

London Loves Dierks Bentley!

Last week, Dierks Bentley made a lasting impression across the pond. People who barely knew him or his music before his performance, ended up speechless, saying it was the best of the night.  Twitter was buzzing with accolades:
After Dark Country ‏@LucAfterDark Mar 15 I always knew he was a great performer with some great songs - but a whole different dimension to @dierksbentley came out today. #C2C2014 
Sam ‏@RSfanUK Mar 15Hard to say this but wasn't a fan of @DierksBentley b4 2nite, maybe hadn't listened to his songs enuv, but now afta @C2Cofficial = Fan4Life! 
Eternity Rod ‏@camztweetz Mar 15@DierksBentley I didn't know I would like your music so much live. Definitely the star of the night #C2C2014 
@NewCountryUK: How amazing was @DierksBentley at #C2C2014?! A set that phrase 'owned the stage' was made for, @TheO2 loved him!
Flex (@xthefrog) captured one of the best photos of the night.  See all of his Dierks Bentley photos on frogography.com:

Dierks even covered "Hey Brother" by Avicii and "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd:

Two of our International DB Congress members, Hannah Compton and Sanna Lindgren, shared their Dierks experience with us!

Hannah's Story

I had a meet and greet for Dierks at the London C2C Festival.  We were all lined up, Fan Club first and then competition winners. The Fan Club were all gathered in a group so that when Dierks arrived he could take a group photo.

Then the man himself arrived. The room went silent and it was like everyone stopped breathing. He was more handsome in real life. He said hello to us all and thanked us for being here and said how happy he was to be in London but that he has done press all day and not yet done any sightseeing. So of course I said, "well, it means you have to come back!" He then asked where we were all from and everyone was from all over the globe. Then it was time for our individual photos.

When it came to my turn, Dierks said he loved my dress and that I looked beautiful which was so nice to hear, especially coming from Dierks.  I could not react any other way than a girly giggle and a shy thanks. He then signed my C2C programme and like a fool I pointed to where his picture was (like he can't find himself) But hey, I was nervous. I asked if he was doing a Fan Club Party at CMA Fest which he said yes so I will be on the look out for those details.

Then of course his show. Are there words? I am not sure there are. He pretty much stole the show. My highlight was I HOLD ON as it is my current favourite and I have been playing it loads in the past few weeks and it was great to hear the story behind it, making the song have a deeper meaning and understanding.

His entire set had the crowd up and dancing and cheering. A few of my friends had never heard his music before and when I asked them what they thought of his show.  One in particular could not even say a word and his mouth fell open and eventually he said, "He blew me away, he was out of this world, I am so impressed, I just cant even find words." This was pretty much the reaction of everyone there.

I am sure I speak for everyone in attendance when I say Dierks, please come back to England, we love you and you have a home here always. Your fan base is huge here and will only be on the RISE.  I HOLD ON to the memories of your show!

Sanna's Story

Man, was I stoked for the C2C festival. I had been counting down the days since the beginning of October for this day to come around. March 15th – THE day I'd finally get to see Dierks live for the first time. Have been a huge fan for the last couple of years – but have never had the chance to see him perform because of where I live.

Sweden is not exactly the ideal country to live in if you want to live and breathe country music. But lucky enough I've found two lovely friends through Facebook who have their hearts set on the same music genre as me – so we decided to go to this festival together. Time went so slow, but about a week before the trip to London I got a tweet from the arrangers of the festival that I had won a competition and that I was going to get to meet Dierks! I could not believe it! Now I REALLY couldn't wait for Saturday!

And when Saturday finally came around I woke up really early – super excited – THE day was here! Finally! And I knew that the first 50 people who showed up outside the Cinema at the arena would get a ticket to the Riser Screening (the last one and only one in Europe). So off I went and got to the arena the same time as the doors opened – so I went straight to start queuing. Didn't want to miss this for the world! Sat there for about 2 hours patiently and nervously waiting. Didn't dare to be happy just yet – I wanted the ticket in my hand before I could believe it and actually freak out a little.

And that's exactly what happened – as soon as the ticket was given to me, I had to like pinch myself really hard to convince myself I wasn't dreaming – and then the biggest grin spread across my face. Total happiness! Then I went into the cinema, got a popcorn, and sat down middle seat, first row – perfect view.

And about one hour later he finally walked into the room, introduced himself and talked about the film, what it means to him and the story behind it, and then went to sit down at the very back of the room. So naturally pretty much all I could think about while the film was rolling was that Dierks was in the same room. Good thing I had seen it a couple of weeks earlier at the live stream, since I barely could concentrate this time. And after the film was over there was a short Q&A – and then he had to leave for sound check.

A couple of hours later I went off to my next Dierks adventure – the Meet and Greet. At 16.45 it was arranged for the ones that had got a M&G to meet up and get escorted to where we'd all get to meet Dierks. And when we stood in line and waited he suddenly walked up from nowhere with a beer in one hand and said "Oh, y'all waiting for me?” Everyone was shaking hands with him and got the thing they'd brought with them signed, took the picture and then they were off.

When it came to my turn he got a big smile on his face and said ”Wow we've got a Little White Tank Top in here” and laughed. Then he reached out his hand to say hello to me – but I said ”No way dude – in Sweden we hug” and then I hugged him. He said he recognized me from the screening earlier, We chatted for a bit and he noticed the Riser-bird with the Swedish flag that I had painted on the back of my LWTT – and asked if we could take a pic of that one too. So we did. Then he signed it.

When I was on my way leaving his tour manager Tom grabbed my shoulder and asked me where I was seated in the arena – I explained it to him and he told me he was going to come find me – and then handed me one of the Irish Riser picks from the night before. I also told him to keep an eye open for a Riser banner.

My seat was located at row Q – way too far away from the stage if you ask me. So I went hunting for a better seat and managed to ”steal” a seat on second row instead! And when Dierks walked on stage he spotted me immediately – pointed at me and gave me a ”Yeah.”

Two songs in, I notice someone's trying to get my attention in the front and I walk over there and see that it's Tom again. He takes my hand and gives me 3 UK Riser picks, a smile and a pat on the back.

Dierks kept mentioning my little white tank top several times during the 60 minutes he had on stage, and the Riser bird on my back. And I held up my banner while he was singing "Riser” and he gave me two thumbs up. When the time was running out and I knew he only had perhaps two or three songs left to play, he says ”I saw one  little white tank top tonight” (while pointing at me), and I knew ”What was I Thinking” was up next.

He sang the first and second verse goofing around on stage and then suddenly he turned around and started walking towards my side of the stage again, with that walk (like he's up to something) and a determined face and the next I know he jumps off stage and walks up to me and puts one arm around me while singing the third verse --15,000 people were starring at the two of us – and there were cameras and flashes everywhere, but I really didn't pay that much attention to that – hey I had Dierks next to me!

Then he jumps up on my seat and starts high-fiving people – and later on pulls me up with him on that seat. It was just awesome. (And yeah – while I had the chance – I just had to steal one more hug). Then he went back on stage to finish the song and it turned into a party with ”Sideways” before he finished his set with ”Home.”

The noise of the crowd when he first walked out on stage compared to when he walked off was like black and white. Everybody loved him and he definitely gained a lot of new fans that night - he's on everyone's lips! So I hope this was not the last time he visits this side of the pond!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dierks Bentley's Seventh Studio Album, Riser, Soars to Number One on Billboard's Country Album Chart

With his seventh studio album RISER, award-winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley has earned the No. one position on the Billboard Country Albums chart this week. RISER also marks his fifth career debut in the top spot on the country charts.

While USA Today awarded the album four out of four stars, critics across the country also chimed in to praise RISER for its depth and artistry with theWashington Post commending the singer/songwriter for “excelling outside the bro-zone.”

"On his latest, Riser, Dierks Bentley again elevates himself above the rest of the country pack." - People

“The chiming guitars and slow-boiling melodies add a simmering passion to Bentley’s distinctive vocal and writing style…the singer/songwriter continues to bring a much needed heft to country music."  - Associated Press

"Dierks Bentley is here to save country music."  - Washington Times

“...revitalizes country music on his greatest album yet.”  – Country Weekly

“Dierks Bentley has built impressive success-- 10 number one songs-- on bedrock concepts that feel more quaint all the time: musicianship, emotional integrity, and hard work.  Those elements again make themselves known on his stirring seventh album 'Riser.'”   – Boston Globe

"Bentley bares his soul in meditations on love and loss, death and rebirth."  – USA Today

"This whole album is not Nashville conveyor belt country, and nor is it just chasing hit singles. It is a bunch of the most personal and emotion-filled songs of Dierks' career to date.”    – Maverick

Up next, Bentley will head across the Atlantic for shows at Dublin and London’s O2 arenas (3/14 and 3/15) before launching his 2014 RISER TOUR on May 9 in Charlotte, NC.  Fans can catch Bentley take the stage for CMT Crossroads: OneRepublic and Dierks Bentley airing March 21 at 9:00P CT on CMT.  For more information and for a full list of tour dates, visit www.dierks.com.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dierks' Double Stage-Dive at Joe's Bar

Dierks Bentley; photo by Alicia Rose
To see Dierks Bentley perform (and stage dive) at Joe's Bar in Chicago is on many a bucket list of hard-core DB fan-clubbers (DB Congress), including Kathy Butler (IN) and Alicia Rose (WI).  But the only way to get tickets for the show last week was to be a local resident and win through a Chicago radio station.  When that didn't happen, Kathy and her entire family drove three hours to a casino in Indiana where US 99.5 was doing a drawing for 50 pairs of tickets. 

It got down to the last 12 pair of tickets when we heard my dad's name called. I'm not ashamed to admit I squealed and jumped up and down! My poor dad lost all day on the slot machines, but came out the biggest winner!  

Dierks opened the show with the title cut from his new album, Riser, which earned the #1 spot this week on Billboard Country Albums today. He also played Say You Do, Drunk On A Plane, Back Porch, Bourbon In Kentucky and I Hold On from the new CD, along with some older hits. The crowd went crazy for Drunk On A Plane. He also did "Hey Brother," a cover by Avicii.  He mentioned how many faces he recognized as longtime fans and that no matter how famous he gets he'd always come home to Joe's. 

He did a stage-dive twice. I caught his ankle/boot. When they pulled him back on stage I got pinned under him, so he pretty much sat on my head!  After the concert he was his normal amazing self and stayed out for awhile to sign autographs--anything from boots, hats, a lady's forehead and a dude's chest!  As always it was worth the long drive and missed sleep. My highlights for the evening, besides D sitting on my head, was Brian, purposely smacking me in the face with a nasty bra hanging from his guitar. He made up for it by letting me "play" his guitar. Got a drum stick from Steve and lots of love from D. He was exhausted but still put on a great show. 

I was shocked and beyond grateful when Kathy won tickets to the US 99.5 Live Country Riser Release Party at Joe's Bar and she asked me to go! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am so blessed to have met so many amazing people through Dierks and DB Congress.

We were a little concerned about the weather because the high was only supposed to be 3 degrees with wind chills well below zero and if you've even been to Chicago you know the wind off of Lake Michigan in the winter is brutal. But as luck would have it, Joe's now has an Off Track Betting facility and they are open during the day.

Dierks came on stage at 9 pm and kicked things off with Riser! Amazing! I love that song so much--it's my new anthem for life. Kathy and I were right up front against the stage and couldn't have had a better spot. (ok well maybe just a little better only because Brian's guitar was turned up so loud that we were trying to signal them to turn it down a little.) The show was fantastic. The energy was amazing and people seemed to really be loving the new stuff, especially Drunk on a Plane. People were calling that out like crazy before they played it. 

Dierks did his traditional Joe's stage dive (twice) and basically was sitting on top of Kathy and me while we tried to push him back up on stage. I'm sure the people behind us were helping too but it felt like it was just us. It's all that muscle he's put on recently--he's seriously buff and looks even better than usual. (I know, I know, how is that even possible?) 

When the show was over, Dierks stayed on stage to do autographs and pictures for at least 40 minutes. He is so awesome to his fans and people of course really appreciated it. I got my Riser CD signed and my ticket stub. My night was absolutely amazing and I didn't want it to end. I'm so ready for my next show! Praying more dates get announced soon because waiting until August 31 at Soldier Field is not acceptable! Again, a huge thanks to Kathy for the invite! I owe you BIG :)

All Photos by Alicia Rose:



Brian Layson

Cassady Feasby 

Dierks signs autographs after the show

Dierks stage dives

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dierks Bentley's "Riser" Album - A Conversation Between Dierks Friends

Riser review, part two.

It's difficult to be objective when you're a Dierks Bentley fan for life. If you talk to any DB Congress member they will say they love his new album, "Riser." Of course...what's not to love? Anytime our president puts himself out there, raw and exposed, it makes us love him even more.  As an artist and songwriter, the character of the man who moves us with his music every day oozes out of every pore of Riser.  

Every lyric is truly believable, his vocal never more emotional and heartfelt.  It's as if he's giving us a peek into his very soul. In fact, "heart and soul" are threaded throughout the project both lyrically and emotionally.

Follow along below while Dierks friends discuss each track. 

Bourbon in Kentucky - Written by Hillary Lindsey/Gordie Sampson/Ryan Tyndell.
  • CS:  There is nothing to say about this song that hasn't already been said: a wonderful song that most people didn't get to hear, didn't get its justice at radio, blah blah blah. Still so, so good. One of my favorite Dierks cuts in years... there are a few songs on this album that would likely make my Top 15 Dierks songs list and this is one of them.
  • RC:  Some say I Hold On sounds like a hearbeat but to me, Bourbon's guitar riff is thump-thumping like a heart ticking away, and and the subtle, vibrating instrumentation added by producer Ross Copperman is so unique.  Kacey Musgraves lends smooth vocals to blend perfectly, resulting in a harmonizing balance with Dierks' gravelly ache. This is an extremely well-written song.  But Dierks added his own twist.  By the end, he's just over it...."so forget you." A BIG song, that radio might regret not getting behind.

Say You Do -
Written by Matt Ramsay/Shane McAnally/Trevor Rosen
  • CS:  And this is another one that would crash my Dierks Top 15. I absolutely cannot get enough of this song. I've been a big fan of Shane McAnally's songwriting for a while now, notably starting with Kenny Chesney's "Somewhere With You" and this one is absolutely no different - I love it. There's such longing in the lyrics and I really feel like Dierks nailed this vocally. SO well done. I would be ecstatic if this was released as a single... right now this is my favorite song on the album.
  • RC: Besides Riser, this is my favorite song on the album.  I can't get it out of my head. Then I heard Dierks and the guys sing it live for the first time at the iHeart Radio show in NYC and when Brian Layson, Cassady Feasby and Dan Hochhalter sang the harmonies, I was blown away! Say you want this to be a single, Dierks!  Even if you don't -- say you do!

I Hold On - 
Written by Dierks Bentley/Brett James
  • CS: I still love this song, even though it's been 13 months since I heard it for the first time. This song is like the little song that could to me - I'm proud of how well it's doing recently and I know that it will be a very, very meaningful #1 for Dierks when it gets there. IT BETTER GET THERE.
  • RC: This song still gets to me.  Being a hard core fan, I know this IS Dierks.  Brett James did a good job co-writing to capture Dierks' essence.  I love the way the drums sound like a train clacking down the track and the ghost-like background vocals in the last verse really drive home the point that things from the past are here to stay in his "here and now" life.
  • CS: Yes! I love the production on this song, and I love the album version so much more than the radio version - the instrumentation seems so much fuller and it really enriches the entire song.

Pretty Girls -
Written by Jessi Alexander/Dierks Bentley/Jon Randall
  • CS: While thematically one could argue that it's "bro," I feel like it loses that stigma both in the imagery of the lyrics, the depth of his vocals, and the whole mid tempo vibe of the song. It's probably in the bottom half of the album for me overall, but it's not the skipper I thought it would be based on the title and initial info that was released about the song.
  • RC: Pretty Girls lyrically -- no. But I like the "Tip It On Back" melodic vibe. And it doesn't sound so bro like.
  • CS: Pretty Girls was inspired by the fans! Cmon! I love it. Haha.
  • RC: Oh I thought you didn't like PG. Miranda [Lambert] loves it! She wants it to be a single.
  • CS: You know I hate bro but to me it ain't bro. These 'bro' songs lately make me feel dirty listening to them - PG to me just rings so true, and again, there's significantly more depth to the lyrics than 90% of what's being released lately.

Here on Earth -
Written by Dierks Bentley/Ross Copperman/Ryan Tyndell
  • CS: I really like this song. It kind of punches you in the gut, especially if you've ever lost someone close to you (and there are so very few who haven't experienced that), but melodically and lyrically it's so well done. Definitely among the top songs on the album for me.
  • RC:  The ache in his voice is so real and takes me right back to my mom's death. There ain't a piece of my soul I haven't searched.  Anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a loved one is instantly transported to that time with his vocal vulnerability.
  • CS: I would agree with that. It's been years since I lost anybody but I still cried the first time I heard this song. And I can relate to the lines "I've read the words of the Teacher but I still struggle with what it's all worth." This song is just so honest.
Drunk on a Plane - Written by Dierks Bentley/Josh Kear/Chris Tompkins
  • CS: So through the course of my listening to the album, I've done a 180 on this song. I would be totally fine seeing this as the next single. It's silly, yes, and has sort of a novelty feel and will likely have a very high burn rate - but it's well-written and clever and honestly doesn't really sound much like anything else out right now. I really enjoy the instrumentation and Dierks' vocals on this song really sold it for me - and hearing the full song helped, as well. So. Single. Go for it.
  • RC: Yep - this song has #1 single written all over it! Yes, there's that alcohol thing, yet it's different and lyrics are so catchy and unique! Favorite line: "Told her about my condition, got a little mile-high flight attention." Am I the only one who tries to sit in seat "7A" on a Southwest flight?"
Five - Written by Dierks Bentley/Ross Copperman/Ryan Tyndell
  • CS:  Listening to the previews, Say You Do and Five really jumped out at me immediately and were the two I couldn't wait to hear in full the most... and after hearing them both in full that still stands - I love this one, too. Great song. Great storytelling and longing here, and again, Dierks nailed the vocals.
  • RC: Love this song, but could have done without the screaming guitar. Favorite line: "Girl you never cross my mind, yeah you stay there all the time." And the hook: "but the one that came up tonight is the one I've known all my life, it's your mama's place and I heard your pretty voice say, this might sound crazy..."
  • CS: I would normally agree but Ross Copperman's production on this entire album is just so solid - the guitar doesn't seem out of place to me.
Riser - Written by Travis Meadows/Steve Moakler
  • CS:  So much buzz surrounding this song already! What an uplifting song. I love that Dierks' whole premise for naming the album after this song is that this song fully embodies the man he wants to be. I can totally get behind that - it's so inspiring. I'm still nervous about this as a potential single... I feel like the timing needs to be just right for it to work out, but at the very least I hope this song can see some nominations, and if not this year, then for 2015 (depending on its potential release to radio and eligibility deadlines). He really did the song great justice here.
  • RC: The title track was brilliantly written by Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler; yet, it's as if Dierks penned it himself...perfect for this time of his life and perfectly weaves the story of his transformation over the last two year from his dad's death to his son's birth. He has always been a riser, steadily singing along for the last decade, not content to follow the formula, rising above the norm. Favorite line: I'm a get down low so I can lift you higher.  During the Riser documentary, Dierks supports his wife Cassidy on the way into the hospital to have baby Knox. "You're gonna do so good," he tells her. "Thank you...so are you!" she replies, resting her head on his shoulder.  Literally and figuratively this line says it all: Lay your pretty head down on my shoulder/You dont have to worry anymore." Dierks IS a lighter, a survivor. Believability 101.  Plus, I love the use of "er" to turn verbs into nouns.  Like us--we are DBC-ers! How meaningful that his dad was in the Thunderbirds charitable organization and that helped shape the idea for the Riser bird symbol.
Sounds of Summer - Written by Zac Crowell/Matt Jenkins/Adam Sanders
  • CS:  I still think this could be the next single, but I really wish they hadn't used the autotune in the bridge or whatever. It just kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. I like the melody and this song sounds nice, but my husband called it a Jake Owen song and I definitely have to agree (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, per se - it's more BBJN than Beachin so there's that). But overall, I'd probably put this toward the bottom of the album for me... which isn't to say it's a bad song, or even one that I'll skip. To me, it's just filler.
  • RC: In Sounds of Summer, producer Ross Copperman dubs Dierks' own voice in the background vocal. Did I imagine this or do you hear it, too?
  • CS: Yep, that's Dierks doing backing. The more I listen to this song the more I enjoy it. I really like that the song is talking about the sounds of summer vs. the sights or some of the more cliche tailgates, moonlight, beer themes that have been overrunning the airwaves lately. To me, the sounds of summer would be seagulls at the beach, fireworks, the stillness of a hot summer day... it's cool that there's a song that speaks to that.
Damn These Dreams - Written by Dierks Bentley/Ross Copperman/Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three)
  • CS: This song breaks my heart. It's almost like it's too honest... like, painfully honest to the point where I'm like, "stop touring! Go be with Cassidy and your adorable children and be a dad!" but then I'm like, well... but he's doing what he loves so I probably shouldn't feel too guilty, right? But man. This is a great song, but it's so hard to listen to. (Kind of like Down in the Mine off Up on the Ridge. Brilliant song - but can't listen to it every time.)
  • RC:  "Damn these Dreams" proves his love for both fans and family--and he's torn. its hard to look true love in the eye and leave.  
Back Porch - Written by Cary Barlowe/Jaren Johnston/Hillary Lindsey
  • CS:  I'm still unsure about BP's inclusion on the album. I think if I could change one thing about the album, it would be to put another song in its place. I understand why they included it, but I wish we'd gotten something entirely new - but that might just be the greedy megafan in me.
  • RC: Agreed.  I like the song, but it fits better on the Country and Cold Cans EP.
Hurt Somebody - Written by Matthew Fleener/Shane McAnally/Mark Nessler
  • CS: Hello wonderful song. Hello Chris Stapleton harmonies. What a gem. I mean, what else more is there to say? 
  • RC: That lonesome fiddle is somehow soothing the "hurt" in his voice.  Chris has a powerful voice (Falling For You).  I wouldn't have minded if Chris had a more prominent presence.
  • CS: I love a fiddle...
  • RC: And which song is Charlie Worsham playing on? LOVE him!
  • CS: I know he played on Bourbon in Kentucky, according to a Billboard article that was out when BiK was at radio ... but I don't know which other tracks he played on, if at all. I'd love to know, though!
  • RC:  Charlie, if you're reading this, clue us in!

-Carrie Srebro (CS) - North Carolina
-Ronna Clark (RC) - Florida 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dierks Bentley Shares Stories, Songs from Riser & More at Intimate iHeartRadio Theater Performance in NYC

Our DB Congress President had such a busy album release week! We all know Dierks released Riser, on Tuesday February 25th.  He and the guys flew into the Big Apple on Monday and one of their many stops was as exclusive performance for the iHeartRadio Country Live Series at the 200 person capacity iHeartRadio Theater in NYC.

Bobby Bones from WSIX hosted the event which was broadcast live on-air as a thirty minute special on Clear Channel radio stations with a sixty minute live video stream online across station websites and iHeartRadio.com.

The weather in New York City was less than ideal for doing the long waiting in line that we die-hards do. It was super cold with a wind chill that brought the temperature down to the single digits, but we bundled up in multiple layers, gloves and scarfs to withstand the wait because we knew that the good times were ahead. Many thanks to the nice guys who worked the theater for letting us come into the building to warm up by the heaters and use the facilities. 

Finally, everyone was allowed to wait inside the building due to the freezing temps. At 8:30 p.m. sharp, they let everyone into the tiny room and we walked quickly to get those coveted front row spots (because really, there is no other way to see a Dierks show). I had previously seen Dierks and the guys in this venue, one of my favorite in the city for it’s size and intimate feel, and knew this was going to be a heck of a show.

For the first thirty minutes, Bobby Bones interspersed questions, anecdotes and humorous banter with Dierks in between performances of songs from Riser. The night started off with Dierks singing the title track, “Riser.” He went on to explain how the record, whose bookends were the passing of his father and the birth of his son, was such a personal one having started in a place of grief and ending in a place of gratitude. Those emotions are not only reflected in the album, but in the Riser documentary, which premiered this past weekend.

Bobby then told the humorous story of how Dierks tweeted out his personal email address. Dierks said he was so excited that his iTunes preorder of Riser (yep, he pre-orders his own albums and don’t we love that about him!?) was available, that he tweeted out a screen shot of it, which accidentally included his personal email. He then received a reply tweet from a hard core fan stating “you’re gonna regret that” and soon his in-box was flooded. 

Bobby joked that now everyone knew Dierks’s email was dierkshotboy69@hotmail . Dierks replied that was his other personal address, which had the entire crowd in stitches.

Next came “Drunk On A Plane” which is about a guy who has a broken engagement, but decides to take the honeymoon anyway. It’s a funny, up tempo tune that Dierks said “balances the heavy” on Riser. When the song was over, Bobby commented that the crowd could sing every word back to Dierks even though the record was just released that day. 

Dierks acknowledged how appreciative he was that many of his hard core fans, faces that he recognized, were in attendance. He added that he knew many of them lined up outside for hours waiting to see him and the band. He also commented that he has played every part of New York and knows there are devoted country fans all over the state that, like the crowd at the theater, always bring it.

During the performance, Dierks on more than one occasion mentioned his hard core fans, pointing to the front row and beyond, showing his appreciation. We surely don’t attend Dierks’s shows to be recognized by him, but really appreciate how he can make everyone feel appreciated and is just so grateful.

From there, he played his current autobiographical top five single, and Bobby’s jam, “I Hold On.” Then, at Bobby’s request, Dierks and the band went old school when his hairstyle was the “Dierks-fro” and played “What Was I Thinking.” Finally, he played “Home,” sending it out to our military.

The Q&A portion may have ended there, but the music did not. Dierks and the band, which includes Steve Misamore (drums), Cassady Feasby (bass), Dan Hochhalter (mandolin, fiddle, guitar and more), Tim Sergent (steel guitar and banjo) and Brian Layson (guitar) played for an additional thirty minutes. The crowd truly was full of people who loved his music because with every song people were singing along. From “Am I The Only One,” to “Come A Little Closer” (because he “would get shot” if he didn’t sing that song) to “Free and Easy,” the whole room was rockin’ and having a terrific time.

Dan "FiddlinDan" Hochhalter

Even though the room was tiny, Dierks and the guys played like there was a much bigger crowd. You could tell they were having a great time with each other, and with the audience. Dierks has an unparalleled energy onstage and even though the stage was tiny, he still goofed around, jumped up and down (that famous 'Tigger-like" Dierks bounce) and interacted with the audience every chance he had.

Brian Layson

Additionally, they played an amazing country cover of Avicii’s “Hey Brother” that has been going over so well live that Dierks said they might add it to the Riser tour set list (yes, please!). They also performed a couple more songs from Riser, including “Say You Do,” which Dierks knew fans liked “from reading Facebook comments, tweets, and emails,” and “Bourbon In Kentucky.” Dierks said he knows BIK is a heavy song; it’s one that was written in a time when he was “going through some stuff.” He commented that the song won’t push you up emotionally, but smiling added, “That doesn’t matter because I’m playing it anyway.” No one minded. The fans that filled the room loved that song and, like ones before it, sang along to every word. 

Dierks has been known to take chances in his music endeavors and the fans at the iHeartRadio Theater knew that about him and seemed to respect and admire him for it.

The night ended on a high note with “Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do.” The red guitar with the #7 came out and since I knew the night was coming to an end, I was putting the camera away. Then I looked up and saw Dierks looking at me with that look, you know it, when he stares ya down, but he’s smiling. And he’s pointing. Jay comes over and tells me to go up there (I think, it’s all kind of blurry).

However, we were at the rail and there was no way to just get over it. So he says “put your arms around my neck and I’m going to carry you over there.” And there ya go. I am not a person who really likes attention called to them and never thought in a million years I would be on that stage playing that guitar, but surprisingly when I got up there, I wasn’t nervous and didn’t just stand there like a bump on a log (at least I don’t think I did). It’s odd, being up there; it felt like I was with friends having a good time. When I walked over to Dan and said “I have no clue what I’m doing,” he replied smiling, “I don’t have a clue either.” Cassady “jammed” with me for a little bit and then Dierks had me doing some sort of dance in unison with him and the guitar. There was a lot of laughing and a lot of fun. See the video here.

Thinking about it gets me kind of emotional because…wow…they are just such a great bunch of guys. I am so proud to be a fan of such an amazing group of people. Thankfully, since I can’t remember every detail of being on that stage, great friends took a video for the entire thing. It felt like I was up there for an eternity, but that’s not a bad thing! Thanks Dierks and the guys for making my 40th show one I will never forget!

Gracious as always, Dierks signed shirts, photos and hoodies on his way out of the theater.

Dierks’s Riser will certainly be a contender for Album of The Year at all of the award shows this year.  I’m sure you have a copy, but get another because, as Dierks said that night “you can have one to listen to and one as a coaster for your beer.”

Tara Joan
DB Congress (NY)