Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dierks Bentley's 10th Annual Miles and Music For Kids: A Weekend of Caring Breaks All Records!

Many people ask us, why do you go see Dierks so many times--haven't you already seen the show? The answer is easy--because it's Dierks! Seeing him 100 times would not be enough.  But last weekend was extra special. His 10th annual Miles and Music For Kids charity motorcycle ride and concert event raised $636,479 for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital--nearly double last year's efforts--and we were fortunate to be a small part of that on Sunday, November 1, 2015!

Every year it's the highlight of our year, no matter how many Dierks shows we attend--this is the BIG one!  The one that gives back and helps so many kids! A DB Congress tradition is to "hold session" at Joe's Crab Shack in downtown Nashville, 'MM4K Eve.'  The gathering is typically about 20-25 DBC reps, but this year we exceeded 50 people--double our usual attendance!  The main event--signing specially-made get well cards for the kids at Vanderbilt Hospital, complete with a DB guitar pick.

DB Congress rep and card signing organizer, David Mattingly (KY) had this to say:

    "[Dierks'] passion for the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is remarkable and there is nothing phony about it. Through the years I've met some great friends from all over the country and Canada, too. I can feel their passion to help the children of the hospital when they show up each year to sign get well cards the night before. They come from all over and they could be out on lower Broadway in the honky tonks [not to mention out celebrating Halloween], but they choose to do one small thing to maybe put a smile on a child's face--to put their name and state on a simple "Get Well" card. 

    This year, 51 people from 22 States/Canada showed up to do just that. But the child with the biggest smile wasn't a patient of the hospital......because it was me. I just can't describe how it felt to watch all these people come together and complete this somewhat confusing task. Getting 51 people to sign their name on 250 cards can be challenging. But they came together and got it done. A very fun night and memory sharing was the perfect way to start the weekend. The next day I was honored to present the cards to the President of the hospital. Yes, the President! He smiled as I handed him the box of cards and told me that he knew what they were. He said they look forward to them every year and assured me they would get put to good use. That means so much to us and I want to personally "Thank" all of you who chipped in, in every small way to pull this off." 

Long-time fan clubber and DBC rep for Alabama, Ann Tate replied:
    "This was the most rewarding year to me also. Just losing my friend from brain cancer, I can't imagine a parent having to watch their children suffer from this horrible disease of cancer or like Dalton, heart problems.  What I loved so much was how down to earth Dierks, our president of the fan club, is to all children. I know he was so touched by everyone at the fan club party and the amount of money he raised in one day. To think that everyone donates their time to this function every year just makes me smile. I have a great niece who spent most of her life at the children's hospital in Birmingham, so I know first hand how much strain is on the parents and children."
One rep, Jacinta Hilgeman  (IN),  was hoping to be there but instead stayed home to be with her son who was just diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and had surgery to repair it on Oct 20.  "Although we did not go to Vanderbilt for the surgery, this makes me want to take part in this event even more so now! These hospitals that specialize in caring for kids are so wonderful and make families feel so well taken care of! I now know this from personal experience. I also applaud every single fan club member who took part in this, I know it means the world to those kids and their families! I hope to be right there with you all next year!"

There are many worthy causes that help a lot of people, and we choose to support Dierks year after year because of the person his is, the relationship he has with his fans and his sincere and humble caring heart that keeps on giving.

Proof of that humbleness came after the check presentation on Ascend Amphitheater stage.

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley
He told the crowd he was up for a CMA Male Vocalist of the Year on Wednesday, but that even if he won that, this night 'for the kids' would always mean way more to him.

According to People, "At one point Bentley called daughter Evie over to meet a fan of his who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair.

"Evie [his oldest daugther, 7, born the night before MM4K 2008] is starting to realize there are people who are sick beyond what she may think of as sick and she's starting to ask those bigger questions – we'll talk about cancer and what's chemotherapy and she's starting to think about mortality, really," says Bentley, who adds that he's thinking of taking her with him soon to visit – and sing to – hospital patients. "These are important things for her to see. Probably more important than watching me win a CMA Award.""

Before revealing the total dollars raised, Dierks told the crowd he was hoping to beat last year's $335k, and was guessing it would be around $405k.  He was blown away when the check was turned around.  "That's a damn 6" he yelled incredulously!

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Dierks Bentley points to the check for $636,479

One lady bid and won an autographed guitar for $45,000--she told MC/auctioneer Storme Warren (Sirius XM The Highway), that she was donating the money in honor of her husband who died in a motorcycle accident last Monday.

Photo by Takara Dingley

Earlier that morning, our president found time to treat 350 of his fan club members to a Last Call Ball (fan club party usually held in June), that doubled as a fundraiser for MM4K10. Joined by Fiddlin Dan Hochhalter, bassist Cassady Feasby and lead guitarist Brian Layson, Dierks and the guys delivered an easy going conversation/acoustic jam session.  He explained that drummer Steve Misamore and steel guitarist Tim Sergent were setting up for the evening concert.

Photo credit: Takara Dingley. Brian Layson, Cassady Feasby, Dierks Bentley, Dan Hochhalter help explain the definition of "Sweetkill" on Cassady's shirt as texted to Dan by Steve Misamore

After three songs (Am I The Only One, Free And Easy and 5-1-5-0) and a long explanation of bass player Cassady Feasby's "Sweetkill" shirt (above), Meredith Mauer (SC rep) and I were honored to be able to present to him on stage a gigantic card signed by all who contributed to the "10 year" commemorative gift of aluminum.
Photo Credit: Amanda Morris (MS).  Dierks Bentley, Meredith Mauer, Ronna Clark

Photo Credit: The Country Sip/Vanessa Storm Photography
In case you missed it on our live broadcast on Periscope "We interrupt this broadcast..."

(video credit: Takara Dingley):

We'd like to see if you know what it is first.

A new pair of boots that don't have duct tape?

A hub cap? A motorcycle plate?

The 10th anniversary gift is normally tin or aluminum.

You know it's my 10th anniversary (to wife Cassidy) coming up this year, I had no idea.

No it's not a hub cap--it's a motorcycle derby!

Thank you guys, I'm gonna put it on today when I get down there!

After the presentation, they closed out with I Hold on, Riser, and Drunk On A Plane, followed by a meet and greet with the top 10 fundraisers, and then he was off to the Harley-Davidson of Columbia to start the ride portion of the day!

Sandwiched in between LCB and the concert was the motorcycle ride.  Debbie Hale, DBC rep (IL), was among the 2000+ riders for the cause!

"I have attended this event every year for the past 10 years and was finally able to participate in the motorcycle ride! Dierks leads the pack from Columbia, TN to downtown Nashville and the day concludes with a concert. This year it was at the new Ascend Ampitheatre. Great venue! Everyone together has raised over $3M to benefit the Vanderbilt Monroe Carrell Children's Hospital. Dierks always says it's not him but all of us who participate. His name is just associated with it. Started the day with a short Fan Club Party at the Hard Rock Cafe.  At the dealership. I made a shirt with pix from all 9 M&M events and one of me on my bike for the 10th one. Dierks autographed it!"

Photo Credit: Debbie Hale. Dierks at Harley-Davidson of Columbia

Photo Credit: Debbie Hale. Dierks' bike for the ride - Indian Scout

Bentley's band of brothers are ridiculously talented!  I mean, 5-1-5-0 crazy good!  Not only did they perform in the morning at LCB and then with Dierks to close out the concert, but they were THE back up band for the other artists and they sounded amazing!

The Rolling Stone wrote: "The concert itself was a casual affair, with Bentley's band filling in for the other artist's groups. Each one played three or four songs as Bentley’s band nailed the hooks to Swindell’s "Let Me See Ya Girl," Rhett's "Die a Happy Man" and FGL's "Anything Goes" — which was even surprising to the duo's Tyler Hubbard. "Thanks for making that a Number One song this week," he said as "Anything Goes" came to its snarling end. “And thanks to this band. We've really had zero rehearsal, we've never done this together and didn't even sound check."

Photo credit: Debbie Hale. Brian Kelly, Tim Sergent on banjo (DB), and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Brooke Eden
Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Canaan Smith toured with Dierks this summer
Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. The Cadillac Three performed White Lightning

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Cole Swindell

Dierks and his band (who had been playing all night) hit the stage with Sideways and played a full hour set, complete with Up On The Ridge fire and Riser.  He declared Dalton as the Riser of the night, the boy he met as a 2-year-old nine years ago and he is still going strong thanks to Dierks and Miles and Music's support of the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Dierks and Dan Hochhalter

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Cassady Feasby, Brian Layson, Dierks Bentley

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Brian Layson, Dierks

Dalton's "Riser" video--this is what it's all about!

Way to go, Dalton! We're so happy to support Dierks' Miles and Music For Kids event year after year to help Vanderbilt's Childrens Hospital so you can continue to be a survivor and a riser and live a long and happy life!

The morning after, we were having breakfast at our hotel and the Food and Beverage manager, Jermaine Dunlap, (aka James), stopped by our table.  He asked about the concert and we told him how much was raised for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.  He told us how he supports John Rich and St. Jude's every year, but that his own son had to use Vanderbilt to have kidney surgery.  He said the total was over $105,000 and he went to family and friends to try to figure out how to pay that bill.  The next day, he met with hospital staff and was told an anonymous donor had taken care of it.  He then realized that events like Dierks' Miles and Music For Kids goes a long way in helping families cover the cost of saving their child's life.  Jermaine then vowed to support MM4K every year!  That's what it's all about!

~Ronna Clark (FL)
DB Congress Chair

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dierks Bentley Celebrated a Decade as a Grand Ole Opry Member

Dierks Bentley celebrated his ten year anniversary of being a Grand Ole Opry member (October 1, 2005) by performing the Tuesday night Opry on September 29, 2015. Some DB Congress were there in person and some were listening online and captured the 30-minute closing segment on audio, transcribed below.

Bill Cody introduced the special 30 minute closing segment.

"This is a special night for him,we're gonna recognize that along the way, 10 years of Opry membership for a fellow who, and I'll share more of his story, the backstory to what I'm about to tell you, an incredible award winning singer and songwriter, 3 consecutive #1's off the critically acclaimed album, Riser, I Hold On, Drunk On A Plane and Say You Do, his 6 previous studio albums sold more than 5 million copies, he's notched 13 #1 singles, 12 Grammy nominations, countless CMA, ACM and CMT nominations...Would you welcome, Dierks Bentley, would ya? On his 10th Anniversary!"

Song #1:  What Was I Thinkin': "I was thinkin' tonight's the 10 year anniversary of me being a Grand Ole Opry member and I was thinkin' that's pretty cool!"

Dierks:  10 years y'all...this is crazy!  I'm not used to doing that song first, usually save that one for later in the set, but tonight we're doing everything backwards going back and doing songs off all the albums I've had...taking a trip down memory lane, That was off my debut album, gonna do one off my album Modern Day Driffer...driffer? What's a driffer?  Modern Day DRIFTER.  Let's do a little....

Song #2 Settle For A Slowdown (Video by DBC Rep Jessica Martin, on our Facebook page).

Song #3: Free And Easy (Down The Road I Go)

Bill Cody:  Hey Dierks,  (Hey Bill), Let's celebrate 90 years, and your 10th anniversary, you've been here, except for the first 80, you've been here for all of them!  (Dierks laughs).  If you'd make your way over to the podium I have something for Dierks tonight...in celebration of the Opry's 90 years and his 10 years of membership, a piece of art we had commissioned for special milestones for all of our Opry members.  It will hang backstage and we have one for him to take one home...there will be a whole wall of those backstage eventually.

Dierks:  Thanks, Bill.  Love this guy, love listening him in the mornings...one of the best things about being in Nashville having 650 WSM...such a great way to start the morning.  This means a lot to me.  I don't have any gold plaques at my house, I don't want my kids around all that stuff, but I do have my Opry microphone that's always there in the kitchen.  My kids know what the Grand Ole Opry is, and this is gonna be up in my house, too.  The Opry is my home, I've been on the road the last 12 years but this is home here and this means the world to me. Thanks, Bill.

Bill: He's got more!  Dierks has invited some special guests to join him on stage:

Dierks:  These guys' (Dailey and Vincent) 90th time playing the show, for me to have the two kinds of music I love, bluegrass--I'll forever be a fan and a student, and to have these guys represent, and to have my friends, The Cadillac Three representing that rockin' country style kinda completes the circle for me.  A couple years ago I decided to leave the country music treadmill and I made a bluegrass record...nice slow song for you guys...just kidding.  This is about as fast as you can play a song, this is a song from my Up On The Ridge record.

Song #4:  Rovin' Gambler

Dierks:  Dailey and Vincent, y'all!  One of the greats in bluegrass and music in general!

The number 10's big for me right now...my 10th anniversary here at the Opry, we'e been married 10 years this year, but this guy right here, he was here 10 years ago, I was driving away from my house today and I was like you know Jake was here 10 years ago and I gotta bring him back out, so ,...he's 15 years old but he's still here,...he can't hear ya...he can probably see you clapping, he appreciates that...Jake, Jake, JAKE, JAKE?...Trust me, 3 kids under 6 it's a blessing he doesn't hear...he's the only one in the house sleeping...special night to have him here with me, place we all call home here at the opry not just us humans, but us dogs, too.  One more time for Jake and for you guys for making this our home.

Dierks and Jake 2005; Dierks and Jake 2015

Speaking of getting married, the most special thing happened before that, back in 2005 Pete Fisher and everyone at the Opry was nice enough to let me come out here and surprise my wife...it was on a Thursday, and Cassidy said 'why are we going to the Opry on a Thursday?' well there's a special show going on I want you to see... I had her totally fooled and we got out here and they had a little table set up right on the circle of the stage in this old wood where everyone stood and had dinner a couple nights before I was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, so this place will always have special meaning for me and just to be part of this great club of the Opry means so much to me.

So we're going to do a song off the record after my UOTR album...Home kinda speaks about...my dad was a WW2 veteran and all the guys that fought for us and sacrificed for us and to make this home what it is.  I started writing this song...it's really hard to write a patriotic song in 3 and a half minutes, but it just always finds new meaning for me and I hope you all can find something out of this song you can take home with ya.

Song #5:  Home

Thank you guys for making us feel so at home tonight!

Bill Cody:  Hey Dierks' we got more to help you celebrate your 10th anniversary.  I wanna recognize Dierks for the work he does for this community--The 10th annual Miles and Music for Kids event sold out within 30 minutes....that's an ongoing part of his life.  And what you may not know...he's one of the few members who was actually banned from being backstage at the opry.  During his early days here in Nashville, Dierks had a job as a researcher for The Nashville Network--you guys remember TNN? And he reported for work just across the way from the Opry house and of course he was in town to be a singer and he had a habit of showing up backstage and gaining access by using his employee badge, flashing his pass and gettin' in and making himself at home.  Until the Opry Vice President and General Manager of who he spoke so highly of earlier, Pete Fisher, limited his backstage access--would that be a kind way of saying it? What did he tell you?

Dierks: Uh...he sent an email back over to TNN saying 'hey we really like Dierks--nice guy, appreciate his enthusiasm for the Opry, but he just can't show up every Friday and Saturday night and hang out backstage...maybe once a month.'

Bill:  October 1, 2005, Dierks was welcomed as an official member of the Opry family.  We celebrate that tonight.  Now he has the ultimate backstage pass, doesn't he?  And a fellow who has had one of those for 54 years, he's in the Country Music Hall of Fame...Whisperin' Bill Anderson has something for ya, Dierks, on your 10th anniversary...

Dierks:  I love this guy right here, ya'll.  Bill Anderson.

Bill:  I love you pal and congratulations on ten years...you're gaining on me I've only been here 54. You'll catch me one of these days.

Dierks:  If I could keep writing songs like this guy---every decade he's had a hit --we all look up to you as songwriters."

Bill:  Thank you, that's very kind of you, but we're not here to talk about that.

It's really a milestone for somebody to have spent 10 years as a part of our family and this is a family...a very special family...and you told me backstage that you're taking some time off the road this fall...I hope that means we're gonna see even more of you out here on the circle...

You came here Dierks at a great time... to get to know some of the great legends. Unfortunately a lot of them have passed away including this man...Dierks, this is a picture of you and Little Jimmy Dickens on the stage and he's got on headphones and you look like you're not wanting to listen, that is a classic picture. What can you tell me about when that was taken and where?

Dierks:  That was back stage here at the Opry, we were goofing around, we did all sorts of little skits, we had a car were driving around in and on this one we were pretending we were cranking up some music...probably had some Hank Williams on there.

Like all the great Opry members he's a guy who could entertain the crowd.  We all aspire to be like him and I miss him.  It's tough to be out here without him...I'm taking this home with me.

Bill:  Take this home to your kids and let them know their dad hung out with Little Jimmy Dickens, one of the true greats.

Our Opry General Manager Mr. Pete Fisher is in LA, I guess since I was the senior Opry member here tonight, they asked me to do this, and what a great honor it is.  Dierks, we're proud of you, this is a plaque that says:

"The Grand Ole Opry congratulates Dierks Bentley celebrating 10 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville, Tennessee."
That makes it official, congratulations, Dierks!

Dierks:  That really means a lot ya'll may have to break my ban of hanging stuff on the walls cause that's gotta go up somewhere in my house that's really cool....the guys in the band they share this with me."

Then Dierks introduced his band:  Brian Layson, Dan Hochhalter, Cassady Feasby, Steve Misamore, Tim Sergent.  "They all share in this."

Bill:  On your 10th anniversary ,we can't let you get away without one more song.  Congrats and I hope someday you can stand here and do this for somebody celebrating 10 years when you've been here for 54!  Thank you, pal!

Dierks:  What do you get at 50 years, Bill? Do I get like a new car or something?

Alright, well this is off the new record, Riser.  This is our new single and probably my favorite song I've ever recorded and I send it out to all the folks who have gone through tough times, are going through tough times...country music fans are the most resilient fans I've ever met in my life and the stories I hear on the road and every town, every show we play I'm always inspired by our fans...and I send this out to some I see out in the front row who traveled a long ways to get here and come to a lot of shows so, it's called, Riser--check it out.

Song #6:  Riser

That was for you, Dalton.  God bless you, buddy. Thank you Grand Ole Opry appreciate you guys so much.  Looking forward to working on year number 11.

Bill Cody:  On his 10th anniversary, and 90 years of the Opry.  What a night to be here.  He is a Riser.  Yes he is.  He's Dierks Bentley, everybody!  Grand Ole Opry member on a Tuesday night.  To a standing ovation as you listen to us around the world.  The Opry House is full and they're all on their feet as the big red curtain comes down.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dierks Bentley Featured as "The Singer" in Charles Kelley's "The Driver"

They may be on hiatus, but Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley is releasing a solo project featuring buddies Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay on the first single, "The Driver."

Dierks Bentley, Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay,
Sept. 30, 2015, Nashville's Skyville Live

This well-crafted song tells the story of 3 people: Charles is the driver, Eric the dreamer and Dierks 'pours out all that he has' on the third verse as the singer.

Or, this could be the story of one person at various stages in his life.  From driving to gigs to being the fan in the front row dreaming and believing he will make it to the stage someday (Dierks has been known to "study" other artists) to becoming the singer on stage.

Either way, it could easily be a contender for collaboration of the year in 2016.  The powerhouse trio blend beautifully with solid harmonies, making the mid tempo melody an infectious sing-along.

Dierks posted to his Twitter page a video clip from the Wednesday night rehearsal and debut at Skyville Live, with the caption: Are you a believer? ‪#‎thesinger‬.

Listen to the entire song here.  Buy it digitally now on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.  I dare you not to play it on repeat for hours!

Charles Kelley – The Driver Lyrics
Written by Charles Kelley, co-written with Eric Paslay and Abe Stoklasa.

I’m the driver
Bringing this circus to town
First one in and the last rolling out
Shuttin’ down
The up-all-nighter
All the stars and sunrises I’ve seen
Every cornfield and town in between
West to east

Oh, easy come easy go
Yeah we rock then we roll out of town
But for now, while the moment is here
Shine a light, drink a beer, let’s get loud
All the drivers and dreamers, believers and singers
Oh, won’t you sing with me now

(Eric Paslay)
I’m the dreamer
Soakin’ up every line
Searching for truth all the time
Oh yeah I’m the believer
That music can save the soul
The one who’s at every show in the front row, singing

Oh, easy come easy go
Yeah we rock then we roll out of town
But for now, while the moment is here
Shine a light, drink a beer, let’s get loud
All the drivers and dreamers, believers and singers
Oh, won’t you sing with me now

(Dierks Bentley)
I’m the singer
Pouring out all that I have
Every love song and heartbreak gone bad
Lookin’ back
When I was younger
Sittin’ right there where you are
Sending a prayer to the highest star
And here we are

Oh, easy come easy go
Yeah we rock then we roll out of town
But for now, while the moment is here
Shine a light, drink a beer, let’s get loud
All the drivers and dreamers, believers and singers
Oh, won’t you sing with me now

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Exclusive DB Congress Interview: Behind the Scenes with "The Mom" in Dierks Bentley's "Riser" Music Video

Single mom, Nicole Staggs, became inspired for her leading role in Dierks Bentley's "Riser" music video after meeting real-life riser mom Amy Thomas on location. "I gave her a hug and told her what an inspiration she was. Especially being a single mother, as well. I was very grateful I could spend that time with her and really get a sense of who she was."

The Travis Meadows/Steve Moakler penned song, portrayed in video form, takes a hard (black and white) look at a very real situation and how to be a fighter, get out aliver, a riser--survivor.

We asked Nicole to share with us some behind the scenes stories, how she landed the role of "the mom," and what being a Riser means to her.

DB CONGRESS: Back in 2007, you won big on the TV game show, “Don’t Forget The Lyrics.” Did you ever imagine you’d be acting in a music video eight years later?

Nicole Staggs: Omg...I sure did! That was so fun! I have been in a handful of videos since then. The year after I did "Don't forget the lyrics," I shot "Waiting on a Woman" by Brad Paisley. That was another video I was very honored to be a part of, playing the late, great, Andy Griffith’s wife. He passed that next year, so the video was even more special to me.

DBC: You’re also a model. Tell us about some of your work. What other acting roles have you played or any upcoming?

NS: I have been modeling since I was 20 years old and that lead to acting. I've done lots of runway (Dillard's, Belks, Victoria Secret Regional, etc.) and print (Zappos, Swisher Sweets, Dillard's, etc.). I have also done commercials (TN Lottery, Buffalo Trace, Walmart, Ford, Cool Springs Galleria, etc.) and have been featured in some TV Shows (Nashville, Boston Public, The George Barris Show, It’s a Miracle, etc.).

DBC: Nashville! Love that show--what episode/role did you play?

NS:  I was initially brought in for the pilot, to audition for the host of the Blue Bird, which was an ongoing, speaking role.  I made it down to the final audition and it was between myself and another girl. She got the part.  Then I was called in for "Sophia Roxanne"...a backup singer. This was potentially an ongoing role, but my part was cut short and I didn't shoot anymore for that.  I was called in once again for the Mayor's mistress, but I didn't book that either!  So, I'm hoping to change the rules and 4th time be a charm?!!  Lol! I think it was season 2?!  

DBC: Can you talk about landing the role in the Riser video and a bit about the interview process? Did you do anything unique to show you would be perfect for the role of the mom?

NS: My agent called me for this audition. I listened to the song before I went, but I had no idea what the video was going to be about until I showed up at the actual audition, so I wasn't really prepared. Wes [Edwards], the director, asked me what one of the hardest things I've ever gone through was, and I talked about my son, his diagnosis of autism, and getting to where he is today. I know my passion and emotion were very apparent when talking about my amazing son. He inspires me every day...both my babies do!

DBC: What were some of the challenges in filming? Any behind-the-scenes stories you can share?

NS: Having to change clothes for every scene! Because we were mostly shooting in parking lots and in the car, changing was a little bit of a challenge! Luckily I grew up playing soccer and am pretty good at changing tops without exposing myself. The crew had a pop up/portable changing room and they would throw that up in parking lots, as well! That was pretty comical!

DBC: Two weeks ago we interviewed Emma Vance, who played the role of your daughter in the video. What was it like working with her and the little boy? Are you a single mom?

NS: Emma was great to work with. She was very sweet and very grown up for her age! Bentley (little boy) was so precious! He was such a little trooper. Because we had to drive around for two full days to many different locations, I was responsible for both of the kids while they were away from their parents and that made nurturing them very easy. Real emotions came out...especially with Bentley getting hungry, tired, or antsy, and my motherly instincts kicked in. I am a single mother of a little boy and girl, so it was easy to pretend Emma and Bentley were mine. Emma was also such a big help with Bentley! It really seemed like she was his big sister!

Nicole and her real-life kids

DBC: How perfect that the little boy’s name just happened to be Bentley! What a coincidence!

DBC: Were you a Dierks fan before this? What’s your favorite lyric in the song “Riser” and why?

NS: I’ve always loved Dierks' music, but this one is definitely my favorite! "When I don't know what I'm doin’ I can fake it...I'll pray ‘til Jesus rolls away the stone" is my favorite verse in the song. That resonates so much with me, because I was there. I never wanted my kids to see me worried, sad or upset, so I always faked it around them when I felt that way....and I prayed a lot! Still do!

DBC: What scene in the video took the longest to make—how many takes? Did you capture any scenes in just one take?

NS: Honestly, none of the scenes took too long to shoot. Wes had cameras rolling on us 3 a lot, even when we weren't shooting specific scenes, so he could capture as much raw emotion as possible.

DBC: Did you meet the real life single mom Amy and her kids? What was your first impression?

NS: I did meet Amy and her kids on the first day of shooting at Safe Haven! When we were introduced, I gave her a hug and told her what an inspiration she was. Especially being a single mother, as well. I was very grateful I could spend that time with her and really get a sense of who she was.

DBC: One of your friends said “she really poured out her soul in this representation of a single mom” and we agree! You clearly displayed just about every emotion without saying a word—from worry to fear to determination to joy. From where did you draw your inspiration?

NS: Thank you! Being a single mother of two children, it was not too difficult for me to imagine being in Amy's shoes. While I was fortunate enough to have a home and a job after my divorce, there were still definite struggles that I faced, starting my life over. Thinking about those struggles, while not having a place to live or money to provide for my kids, really put things into perspective for me and allowed my real emotions to take over. I know how incredibly fortunate I was to have what I did. Amy was certainly my inspiration for this role and is truly the epitome of a riser!

DBC: Another friend gave “Kudos to Dierks for the song and kudos to you for bringing it alive and helping to make it real.” Did you get to meet and talk to Dierks? If so, can you tell us about that conversation?

NS: Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Dierks. He shot his part on a different day.

DBC: The song and video are serious in nature, but were there any funny moments you can tell us about?

NS: We definitely laughed a lot about how freaked out I was, shooting at the motel. I am super ocd when it comes to germs and this motel room was probably the filthiest room I've ever seen. I had my hand-sanitizer out and rubbing it all over myself and the kids! We also put one of the crews blanket down on the bed, before Emma sat down on it! Luckily it was the last shot of the day, so we all went straight home and showered! Lol!

DBC: Where were you when you saw the finished video? What surprised you the most?

NS: A director friend of mine saw it on The Guardian website and texted me about how great it was. I was at home and watched it on my iPhone! I think what surprised me the most was this being the first time ever that I watched myself on TV and didn't pick myself apart. This was the least glamorous role I've ever done (absolutely no makeup, no hair, no sleep, etc), yet I loved every single bit of it. It was so raw and real and I'm incredibly proud to have been a part!

DBC: Favorite scene and why?

NS: The same scene as Emma...when we were parked in the church parking lot and I look up to the cross…such a powerful message of faith and how God gets us through everything.

DBC: What does being a Riser mean to you?

NS:  A "Riser" to me, is someone courageous, strong, brave, determined and selfless. It's someone who does whatever it takes to get through the hard times and never gives up.

Director Wes Edwards said he "really wanted to do something that felt genuine and honest and a real story of a real riser."  You did it, Wes!  Nicole, Emma and Bentley were very convincing!

Watch the behind the scenes video here.

Riser, the single, is inching up the charts.  Please continue to request your local country radio plays this important, inspirational song!