Fans have been used to seeing Dierks Bentley in arenas and amphitheaters since the star launched his headlining Riser Tour this summer, but the singer turned up recently on the streets of Annapolis, Maryland, guitar in hand. Bentley’s “pop-up” street performance of the Number One hit “I Hold On” was part of Vevo’s GO Show series.
Bentley chose the town, which is home to the U.S. Naval Academy, in part because of his own father’s military service. He penned “I Hold On” (with co-writer Brett James) and much of Riser, the album it’s taken from, after his dad passed away in 2012.
“This town is really special, so we wanted to do our GO Show here,” Bentley says in the video. “We popped in at a really old-school downtown spot. My dad was in the army and I always had a lot of respect for him and for folks in the military for putting their country before themselves, and that’s exactly what this song is about.”
Now climbing the charts with the fourth single from Riser, “Say You Do,” Bentley will head to next month’s CMA Awards ceremony with five nominations, more than any other male artist this year. His comical chart-topper “Drunk on a Plane” is up for Single of the Year, while “I Hold On” is among the nominees for Song of the Year.
“When you think of Single [of the Year], you think of a song that impacts radio and an artist’s career,” Bentley recently told Rolling Stone Country. “With ‘Drunk on a Plane,’ that song has had an impact on our live show. And on radio, it’s been a big hit. But when you think of the craft of songwriting, being nominated for Song of the Year is really special. Every 10 years something like that comes along, and it all works out. [‘I Hold On’] wasn’t a song that I was even trying to write. I was just talking about the death of my dad, and asked a lot of personal questions about myself.”
Bentley is currently on a new leg of his tour, with Randy Houser and Eric Paslay in support. They’ll play Boise on Friday night.