Earlier this week, Dierks Bentley skipped the Super Bowl to perform “Say You Do” on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Last night, the Grammy and ACM-nominated singer-songwriter left the West Coast for the East, landing in New York to be the musical guest on the Late Show With David Letterman.
This time, Bentley and his band stayed seated (ironically) for a mostly acoustic rendering of “Riser,” with an electric bass serving as the only amplified instrument. The emotionally charged song is the title track to Bentley’s latest LP, up for Country Album of the Year at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
“When I first heard that song, wow,” Bentley told Rolling Stone Country of the tune penned by Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler. “It really hit me hard. Not only did we know we were going to record it, but we thought it’d be the cornerstone of the record. You hear a song like that and you have to meet the guy behind it. And Travis has been through a lot — he’s lived and breathed and died with that song. I feel honored to have it.”
Meadows, who has battled both addiction and cancer, says his love of Bruce Springsteen and his empowering anthems helped him craft the song’s lyrics. “I’m a big Springsteen fan and I love making up words, like ‘Don’t run and hid-er,'” Meadows recalled back in October. “So I started writing about a guy getting back up and getting in it.”
After the performance, Letterman noted Bentley’s recent ACM nominations. He’s up for seven trophies at the April 19th Academy of Country Music Awards, airing live on CBS from AT&T Stadium in Dallas.