Alright, so I know I said that seeing Steve Moakler at the backyard show at the beginning of the summer was my best day in Nashville, but Steve is going to have to take a close second because on Thursday, August 14th, I was surprised by none other than DIERKS BENTLEY! (Sorry Steve, I knew Dierks first.)
Now, anyone who has spoken to me at least three times knows that I am a huge Dierks Bentley fan. In fact, I would have to say that he’s my favorite artist.
Everybody has that one singer right? The one that you get so excited for when they get nominated for awards, or when their song comes on the radio, or when you get to go to their concert! I respect Dierks as an artist so much because throughout the years he has always put such an emphasis on the importance of the history of country music. I was about 13 or 14 when I first started listening to him, and as a young person just learning about country music, it was a really cool thing to see an artist who was so passionate about it. He also became a successful artist the hard way: moving to Nashville and making his way up through the ranks playing for tips on Lower Broadway.
Of course I enjoyed his early songs like “What Was I Thinkin'” and “My Last Name” that played on the radio like anyone else, but it wasn’t until a special song in 2006 that I really fell in love with his music. The song was the second single off the album of the same name called “Long Trip Alone.” The track didn’t exactly crush it on radio, but it definitely still remains my favorite. One of the first times that I heard it I was watching the friday night Opry on GAC. (There was a time when GAC was the only station I watched.. like ever.) And I remember this episode because it was right after Dierks had filmed the video for Long Trip Alone, in which he got his curly hair cut off, and he showed up with a fresh buzz sending fans into a frenzy.
So Dierks, being the youngest member of the Opry at the time, got up on stage with his Martin guitar. He then started to tell the story of the song. He talked about how when he first moved to Nashville before he made it, he would walk on the outside of the Ryman Auditorium just dreaming of someday performing there. He then talked about Long Trip Alone, and how it started off as a love song, but somehow turned into a bit of a gospel song. He then tied the gospel song into the honor of playing in the mother church of country music. Right before he played the song he said, “I don’t know if you’re the praying kind, but if you are, make this your prayer tonight.” I realized that listening to the song in that way put an entirely new meaning on it, and it really hit me hard.
(I never could find a video of the Opry performance, but watch the music video here. )
And that’s what music is all about, right? Making an emotional connection with the fans. It’s about writing songs that people can carry along with them in their cars and in their lives. Something people can relate to and turn to in life. Country music is full of good time party songs, but something that you can always count on is country music being there to SAY SOMETHING. Many artists have music that have said something to me, including Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, and many others, but Dierks’ music was the first one to really hit me in the face and make me fall in love with country music.
Storme and Brittany were WELL AWARE that Dierks was my favorite artist at the beginning of the summer. I guess they had been trying to get Dierks in the studio for a few weeks. Storme had gotten in touch with him and just said I was a huge fan and my internship was ending soon, so it would be awesome if he came in. Nothing seemed to be set in stone until thursday morning when Dierks texted Storme and said “I’m on my way.”
That’s why country music is so awesome! The arists actually care about the fans. I just love that Storme and Brit somehow pulled this off, and I thank Dierks for taking time out of his day! It was unbelievable to be able to tell my favorite artist over national radio that he got me into country music. This is just one of many amazing things that have happened this summer, but this was the perfect, amazing thing to complete an absolute DREAM of a summer! Thanks again Dierks, see ya down the road!
Oh, and here’s a picture from the first time I met DB at the Preble County Fair when I was 15. I always said the next time I met him was going to be when I was making my career in Nashville, and hey, I guess it happened!
“That’s why we need to encourage people to chase their dreams, because it’s the ultimate when you get the chance to have your job be your passion.”-Dierks Bentley
Music is my passion thanks to artists like Dierks, and that is why I’m here in Nashville.
Follow your passion and watch where it takes you.