ToC Critic’s Pick: Dierks Bentley, ‘Riser’ [Listen]
The title track of Dierks Bentley’s Riser album is the reason it’s been nominated for an ACM, CMA and Grammy. The intensely personal track leaves itself open for translation, or at the least invites everyone to become a "Riser."
Lyrically, the song is a gift. It’s inspirational, but not out of touch. “I'm a riser / I'm a get-up-off-the-ground, don't-run-and-hider / Pushing comes a-shovin' / Hey I'm a fighter / When darkness comes to town, I'm a lighter / A get-out-aliver, out of the fire / Survivor,” Bentley sings during the chorus of “Riser.”
The country star's promise, like so many of the songs on this album, comes inspired by two big moments in his life: the death of his father and birth of his son. Those happenings bookended the creation of Riser, and while they’re not referred to directly, each can be heard in every note of every song (except maybe “Drunk on a Plane”).
“Lay your pretty head down on my shoulder / You don't have to worry anymore / This old world is cold and getting colder / And I know how to lock and bolt the door,” Bentley sings to open the song. “I’m strong enough to hold you through the winter / Mean enough to stare your demons down / The hard times put the shine into the diamond / I won't let that keep us in the ground.”
"Riser" is an important song. It takes more effort to access than some of his earlier hits. There’s no whistle, hum or hook to grab the attention of the most distracted country fan, and for this reason it may not become a chart-topper. But the album’s cycle would be incomplete if it didn’t get its chance.
Key Lyrics: "I'm a riser / I'm a get up off the ground, don't run and hider."
Did You Know?: Bentley didn't write "Riser." The song was written by Steve Moakler and Travis Meadows, who also wrote Jake Owen's "What We Ain't Got."
Listent to Dierks Bentley, “Riser”
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