Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day and Every Day, How Dierks Bentley Honors Those who Died for our Freedom

You only need to listen to his music or see him perform live to know how much America means to Dierks Bentley.   His patriotism is on full display every day. And on Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor those who fought and died for our country's freedom,  we couldn't help but think about how his words and music do just that.

The most obvious song is "Home," from the 2012 album of the same name. Written by Dan Wilson, Brett Beavers and Dierks, the lyrics subtly serve as a reminder that many of our military gave their life for something they believed in--freedom. 

brave, gotta call it brave, to chase that dream across the sea
names, then they signed their names, for something they believed
red, how the blood ran red, and we laid our dead in sacred ground
just think, wonder what they’d think if they could see us now

it’s been a long hard ride, got a ways to go
but this is still the place that we all call home
it’s been a long hard ride, and i won’t lose hope
this is still the place that we all call home

Several years ago, Dierks performed "Home" at Country Music: In Performance at the White House--a series of events created to showcase the music that's contributed to the fabric of American culture.

"'Home" has been a staple in Bentley's set list since 2012 and fans capture that image of freedom every night at his live shows, where he sometimes brings members of our military on stage.

Photo by Stephanie Lanham, DBC Rep, Missouri

Photo by Stephanie Lanham, DBC Rep, Missouri

Photo by Marycoleen Geiger, DBC Rep, Louisiana

Photo by Dan Foley, DBC Rep, Massachusetts and featured in "The Mountain" video

Many fans in the audience come prepared to show their love of America during Dierk's performances.
Photo by Meghan Dunphy

Photo by Roger Stroupe, DBC Rep, Ohio
His father, Leon, served as a First Lieutenant in WWII and during Dierks' performances of  "I Hold On" you can see his image in the flag on the big screen as Dierks sings, I hold on Like the stripes to the flag, Like a boy to his dad I can't change who I am, right or wrong So I hold on.  Leon Bentley died June 1, 2012 and for many shows after that, Dierks would sing Home and pay homage to his dad by changing the lyrics slightly: just think, wonder what He'd think if He could see Me now.

He'd be so proud, Dierks!

Photo by Carrie Srebro, DBC Rep, North Carolina

In 2016, the Black album brought us "Freedom," more evidence of Dierks' love of our country.  Written By Ashley Gorley, Ross Copperman and Dierks, he sings: That flag on a solider's sleeve
All around the world they know what it means, And they all just wanna little piece of freedom, yeah

These are just a few examples of how Dierks honors our country every day and those who fell defending it.

Don't miss seeing Dierks on the Mountain High Tour this year with Brothers Osborne and LANCO.  See tour schedule here.

Ronna Clark (FL)
DB Congress Chair

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dierks Bentley On Another Level for Opening Night of the Mountain High Tour in Columbia, MD

Photo Credit: Mary Lou Greene 
Cassady Feasby, Ben Helson, Dierks Bentley, Steve Misamore, Dan Hochhalter, Tim Sergent,
Opening Night, Mountain High Tour, 5/18/18, Merriweather Post Pavillion

Dierks Bentley was nine songs into his opening night of the Mountain High Tour before he drew a breath. 

"I didn't get a chance to introduce myself....Hi, I'm Dierks Bentley, I'm your lead singer tonight and you guys are amazing.  You guys are so incredible I cannot believe ...just blows my mind you guys are all here, everywhere, alright! up top!"

The Merriweather Post Pavillion was a gorgeous setting, and the fans in Columbia, Maryland on Friday, May 18, 2018 didn't seem to mind the rain to have the chance at the Dierks Bentley Mountain High experience.

All six 'Team Dude' members managed four costume changes (and wigs) in record time from the VIP 'mountain-clad' acoustic set, to 15 minutes later opening for LANCO in overalls as "The Maryland Monroes," then the new set, and a psychedelic '70's-themed encore--complete with platform shoes, bell bottoms and oh, yeah, a pilot's uniform.

The VIP acoustic set started out with stripped down versions of 5-1-5-0, Up On the Ridge, Drunk On A Plane and new from The Mountain album, "You Can't Bring Me Down." Fantastic fiddle playing by Dan Hochhalter! At one point, someone in the crowd was face-timing and Dierks took the phone and introduced the band to them. Dierks on the mandolin was having a blast, then traded with Ben Helson for the guitar.  Thank God for the versatility of this skillful group of musicians! Check out the VIP acoustic videos on our DB Congress Facebook page!

It's 9:20 pm and the lights go dark.  The intro music starts..."Well I bet my soul on a six string gamble, and I climbed like hell through the brush and the bramble. Even though I had my doubts, told myself, don't look down, and I turned that hill into a pile of gravel.  It was only a mountain, nothing but a big ole rock.   Only a mountain,  it ain't hard if you don't stop.  It just took a little step, a right then a left then a couple million more, who's countin'?  Hell, it's only a mountain, Hell, it's only a mountain...then BAM! An explosion --90 seconds of electricity and elaborate new lighting (compliments of Chris Reade), and live electric guitars, drums, bass, and banjo. Dierks, Ben Helson, Cassady Feasby, Dan Hochhalter, Steve Misamore and Tim Sergent rocked 'The Mountain' hard, straight into the next song--I Hold On.

Transitions were tight--they never stopped playing. Ending each song on the same note the next one began--seamless.  Before Somewhere On A Beach, Dierks quipped, if you want to climb a mountain, you gotta start at the bottom, you gotta start at sea level before you reach that altitude. The wild drum sound of Woman, Amen was augmented with LANCO and Brothers Osborne drummers in addition to Bentley's own Steve Misamore and perfectly positioned Black as the chaser.

Burning Man brought Brothers Osborne to the stage again--a much anticipated number since the Brothers are featured on the album cut.  And many DB Congress reps heard it live first in Vegas in December 2017. Ben Helson and John Osborne killed it while Dierks,  jumped up and down excitedly:

Up On The

Ridge took a turn to Hillbilly Shoes (a nod to Montgomery Gentry), spotlighting the vocal talent of bass player, Cassady Feasby. "You think you know me, but you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Til you walk a while, a country mile in my hillbilly shoes, he belts out while Bentley harmonizes with background vocals:

During 5-1-5-0, LANCO lead Brandon Lancaster returned to duet with Dierks on the 90's throwback, "Sold" (Grundy County Auction).

So how did the tour name come about? Dierks tells us.

"Ah man, we've been off the road for a while...this is our first night of the Mountain High Tour.  I got a record coming out called The Mountain, so me and the guys we're responsible for the "Mountain" part of the name, Brothers Osborne are responsible for the "High" part of the Mountain High Tour.  Pretty good, right? We're just so relieved to be back on the road, this is where we love to be.  We had to take some time off to try to make the best record we could, but we missed you guys, miss being around you guys."

"It was a crazy year last year, it was a hard year for a lot of us in country music, in the country music community and a lot of difficult times out there that we all went through together.  I was meeting earlier tonight with a girl who was here with her family and its her first concert back since Route 91 and I want to recognize her and her family--thank you for coming out tonight and letting us be your first concert since then--really means  a lot to me and the guys that you guys came here."

"I know everybody here, you all have your own mountains you're climbing, your own personal battles, and I tell you the one thing I know is that country music fans have more perseverance and determination than any people I've ever met in my life and we're gonna send this song to all you risers out there tonight--this is for you guys, you are risers, there's nothing you can't do, nothing we can't get through together. Isn't that right?"

Am I The Only One? allowed the guys to all sit down for a minute (whew!) on the new stage with a U-shaped set of lighted steps, and Dierks introduced each of them, then strolled out to the B stage for Tip It On Back--a perfect fit for the fans on the lawn- and Say You Do, before heading back to the main stage for Living, Thinking and Sideways.

When darkness comes to town, I'm a lighter...the stage goes dark for a short time and then a 70's clad crew come back for the lively Drunk On A Plane encore and suddenly Dierks is maneuvered high up in the stage clouds for the Mardi Gras tune in a make-shift plane.

As if our clear eyes weren't even blinking, it was over, leaving us with a heart full of grateful for all Dierks and his crew gave us tonight, an uplifting evening, allowing us to feel that fire we've been missin', we were living!

Don't miss the Mountain High Tour tonight in Camden, NJ.  See all tour dates here.

Ronna Clark
DB Congress Chair

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Music Video Series Shares Fans' Personal "Mountains"

Though the promotion and hype of Dierks Bentley's ninth studio album, The Mountain, has focused on a literal mountain setting, the meaning is much bigger. Instead, it is a metaphor for life's challenges, focusing on the struggle and the moments of overcoming.

What inspired this picturesque metaphor?

“The people I meet on the road who are climbing their own personal mountains unknowingly inspired this album,” Dierks said. “Their stories are powerful and raw, but there is always a sense of resilience and hope. Those feelings are the foundation of this album to me.”

So, Dierks teamed up with Apple Music to share the stories of some of the people who inspired The Mountain--fans with powerful, real struggles. This four-part video series will highlight "fans’ stories of resilience, perseverance and hope set to picturesque performance footage shot in Colorado."

The first two videos have been released, with the next two coming out before the album release on June 8. These videos and stories will certainly get you thinking about life's mountains and will, no doubt, tug on your heart.

The Mountain
The first video features Daniel Foley, Boston Marathon runner and 2013 bombing survivor. Daniel's family was near the finish line when the bomb went off; they all witnessed the horror that took place that day. They decided to overcome the mountain together. "My wife and I decided we were going to focus on all the good, that we can come back from a terrorist attack and we can run the next year and not be afraid." Here's their story:

The second video features Jennifer Fry, a photographer who was born with low-tone hearing loss in both ears. Despite others telling her she wouldn't be able to have a normal life, she opted to prove them wrong. "I'm not really sure if I'm going to lose my hearing completely. I'm just going to keep going and hear the birds singing and water splashing, just everything. I want to take it in as much as I can." Here's her story:

You Can't Bring Me Down
The third video features McKenzi Loid, who passed away from a car accident while leaving a Dierks concert on April 24, 2017. Her mom (Robin Loid) and sister (Emily Wilkins) created the non-profit Cultivate Kindness in her honor. Their organization raises money to support Be The Light, an annual special needs prom. "It's wonderful to continue her kindness and her positivity through Cultivate Kindness ... turning that grief and sadness into something wonderful, like this prom, it's incredible to us."

Stay tuned for the final video, which should be available this week.

In the meantime, Dierks' team is still collecting "mountain" stories from those who have recently scaled a mountain of their own. Have a story? You can submit it here. It might be featured during the album release!

Jessica Borrelli
DB Congress Rep, WA