Dierks Bentley Releases Riser
Any successful career requires time away from home. No one knows that better than Dierks Bentley. And few artists are as willing to share what this means in song, as Bentley does on his most personal album to date, Riser.
The overall theme of Riser is discovery and allowing fans a more intimate glimpse into Bentley. To that end, his manager, Mary Hilliard Harrington, suggested he make a documentary of his life and the things he was going through.
“We could hear that in the music, from the first songs he turned in from the first writing sessions,” she said. “I knew early on that this was going to be more of an album project in a singles-driven world and that we would need to tell the story of the entire project in order for the fans to truly understand and appreciate it. I hope the documentary helps do that.”
Directed by Wes Edwards and premiered on CMT in February, “Dierks Bentley: Riser” is less a music video than it is a candid, slice-of-life documentary. When first approached about it, Dierks Bentley was skeptical. “I didn’t feel like I had time,” he said. “I had my hands full trying to tour and finish a record, and I didn’t want to add more work to that. Mary pushed me into doing it, but once we started I was like, ‘Thank God we are doing this.’
“It’s an interesting time in my life right now, having these kids at a certain age, going full bore with my career, my dad passing away, my son being born,” he continued. “I’m glad we captured it all. You see the show and backstage, but you also see me in my kitchen and me pushing the kids on the swing. And you’re in the hospital with us when Knox was born. It’s pretty personal.”
“The video is just as I envisioned it,” Harrington said. “It gives a complete picture of Dierks Bentley and this album. I love the moments with Evie, Jordan and Knox because it shows what an incredible dad he is. I get choked up hearing him talk about his dad Leon because I know what a special relationship they had.”
After the recording was completed, Capitol Records Nashville released “Bourbon in Kentucky” (Ryan Tyndell, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson) as its first single. With its theme of drowning the pain of lost love in drink, it wasn’t exactly a typical summer-fun song for the season. Some radio stations even declined to play it.
“I was proud we put that one out there first, even though we knew it was against the grain,” Bentley said. “I got honest feedback from radio. Some guys just said, ‘When we play it, it is so real and honest, it just sticks out in the midst of these summertime radio songs.’”
Capitol decided not to release Riser as early as first announced, which proved be a blessing in disguise for Dierks Bentley. “I would love for ‘Bourbon’ to have been a hit for the songwriters, but it allowed me to step back, write some more songs and incorporate all the fun I had on the road with Miranda (Lambert) on the ‘Locked & Reloaded Tour.’”
Bentley’s “Riser” tour kicked off May 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Jon Pardi, Chase Rice and Chris Young. “These guys have so much energy and they are fired up to be out there,” the headliner said. “I want it to be a testosterone-driven, fist-pumping deal. I’m throwing everything into it. I’m going out as if it were the last tour of my life.”
On the Web: www.Dierks.com
On Twitter: @DierksBentley
By Vernell Hackett
© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.