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 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 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 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 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 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'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'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 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!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

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

After three consecutive number one singles at country radio (I Hold On, Drunk on a Plane, Say You Dofrom the 2014 "Riser" album, Dierks Bentley finally released the inspirational title track as a single in late June--his goal all along.

A few weeks later his ACM Awards Live performance of "Riser" was released as the video, and while it was a beautiful production, many wondered if and when there might be a "story" video.

No more waiting! The Guardian launched the true story music video September 3, which follows the struggles of a formerly homeless mother of two--Amy Thomas--as she rebuilds her life.
"I really wanted this video to reflect the 'risers' among us. So, when it came to casting, it was important to me that the storyline follow something real - no acting. The first thing I thought when I met Amy was you would have never known that she had been living out of her car with two kids and nowhere to go. Hearing her story is such a solid example that there are people we pass all around us every day who are going through tough times. It's dedicated to all the 'Risers.'" ~Dierks Bentley

Excerpt from The Guardian article: "The song, which was written by Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler, struck a chord with Bentley, whose father died in 2012. He says finding time to grieve while trying to be a good husband and dad (Bentley and his wife had two children at the time, three now) wasn’t an easy task, but it had to be done. “People are counting on you to get your shit together,” he says. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics of Riser’s chorus resonated: “Hey, I’m a fighter/When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter/A get out aliver of the fire/Survivor.”"

Twelve-year-old, 7th grader, Emma Vance from Nashville, was cast as Amy's 'daughter' in the video. With the help of her dad, Todd, who contacted us on Twitter, Emma graciously agreed to answer our questions about her experience.

DB Congress:  We see you’ve already been featured in other music videos and commercials, some with your dad.  Tell us about those! 

Emma Vance All of my acting experiences have been fun. especially the ones with my dad. I think my favorite thing to shoot, not including the Dierks video, was a music video for Casting Crowns - Broken Together.

DBC:  How were you chosen to be in Dierks Bentley’s Riser video? How did that come about?

EV: My agent sent me the audition notice and  I wasn't sure how I did until about two weeks later when my dad got the email.

DBC:  In the video, you portray the daughter, but you still go to school and can be seen studying Biology.  What is your favorite subject in school?

EV: My favorite subject in school is probably Language Arts because I enjoy writing.

DBC:  How did the Riser video experience compare to your other videos and commercials?

EV:  The riser video experience was the biggest thing I've done so far and it took the longest to shoot so it was much different from what I've already acted in before.

DBC:  You were a brave “big sister” to the little boy and for your “mom” in the video.  How did you get yourself  ready for the emotions you displayed throughout the video?

EV:  I met the actual girl I was playing, so I just tried to put myself in the place and mindset that she could've been in.

DBC:  How much did you know of Dierks and/or his music before getting the job?  Did you know the song (Riser) prior to being in the video? Have you been to a Dierks concert?

EV:  I've loved a bunch of his songs, though I hadn't listened to "Riser" before I found out about the audition. I have never been to a Dierks Bentley concert, but I would imagine that it would be super fun!

DBC:  Do you think the video is uplifting or sad?

EV:  I think the video was definitely emotional, but I see it from an uplifting point of view.

DBC:  What was your favorite scene in the video and why?

EV:  My favorite scene in the video would have to be when the kids are going to sleep in the car and the mom looks at the cross at the church because I saw it from the perspective of never giving up hope in the Lord.

DBC:  That was an inspirational scene! For us, when the cop (Kevin Grace), knocked on the window of the car and that tear dropped out of the little boy's eye, that's when the water works started!

DBC:  What was it like to work with Dierks? Can you share some of your conversations?

EV:  I actually never got to meet Dierks because the parts of the video he shot were separate.

DBC:  How long did it take to film the entire video? Did you have to miss and make up any school work?

EV: It was 10 am to 10 pm for 2 days, but because it was in the summer I didn't have to make up any school work.

DBC:  Tell us about working with and being directed by Wes Edwards.  The shot of you laying your head on the mom’s shoulder at the end was perfect and ties nicely with the lyric: “lay your pretty head down on my shoulder.” You made it look so natural!

EV:  I really liked working with him. He communicated what he wanted us to do really well and made it super easy. I would love to work with him again someday.

Emma standing in front of Director, Wes Edwards

DBC:  What was your favorite memory of the day?  

EV:  My favorite memory would probably be when we went to the lake and before we started filming, we fed the geese.

DBC:  What does being a “Riser” mean to you? 

EV:  To me, being a Riser means staying strong in a tough situation and having hope that you get through it. 

In the closing scene, Dierks has just finished singing the last of three "I'm a riser" lyrics, and you can see he is visibly moved with the seriously emotional look on his face and the way he swallows hard.  A true testament to how real this experience was for him--a real-life fighter, riser--survivor.

With the help of Nashville non-profit Safe Haven Family Shelter, Amy was able to receive critical education, support and guidance that helped her make a successful return into her own home. Amy shares her story in more depth in this behind-the-scenes footage from the video shoot. To watch, click here.

DBC Chair (FL)