January 28.2016 – Story Behind “Riser” by Dierks Bentley

Hear the story here!

“Riser” is a song about resilience and determination. “Life in general has a way of knocking you down,” Bentley said. “It’s different reasons for different folks – could be personal reasons, could be family reasons, your job, drugs, alcohol. That song really applies to anybody that’s lived. There have always been those moments when we have to get back up and get on our feet. They are defining moments… breakthrough moments.” The song was written by Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler.

Dierks Bentley’s executive producer, Arturo Buenahora, sent this Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler penned song to the singer back in 2012, shortly after Bentley’s father passed away, which is why it resonated so strongly with him as inspiration for the entire record. “It’s a big song,” Bentley told reporters at a media event. “It takes different meanings as it goes on.”

“It’s not a song for the dead, it’s a song for the living; it’s a song of resilience,” he continued. “It’s one of those songs that will always have various meanings. I certainly think about my fans, and people out there, looking out at a crowd of 20,000 people, everyone has some story they’re struggling with, whether it’s bills or their kids, and they’re finding a way to make it happen.”

Meadows had come up with the original idea for the song and chose to collaborate with Moakler because of his optimistic nature. One of Moakler’s lines highlighted the reason why Meadows chose him as his songwriting partner. “I do remember one in particular, because it’s one that I would have never come to on my own, and it’s exactly pointing to that optimism that I was talking about,” Meadows said. “I would say something like, ‘I’m a fighter,’ or ‘I’m a don’t-run-and-hider.’ But I would never in a million years say, ‘I’m a lighter.’ That’s such an optimistic phrase, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the song. ‘When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter.’ What a beautiful thought.”

The original working title was “Survivor,” but it got changed to “Riser” during the writing of the song. “I think the term ‘riser’ was something that Travis had. I think that’s what makes it unique,” Steve Moakler told Taste of Country. “The term ‘survivor,’ we’ve all heard that, and first of all the chorus lands on ‘riser,’ which is how most country songs are titled, and I think the term ‘survivor’ takes on a victim stereotype. You take away that connotation, but ‘riser’ is the opposite. You don’t have to have been through something to call yourself a riser. It’s more the determination.”

A second video was released, which follows the true story of a formerly homeless mother of two named Amy as she rebuilds her life. The Wes Edwards-directed clip was inspired by a 60 Minutes segment that Bentley viewed about families living out of their cars in order to get by. “I really wanted this video to reflect the ‘risers’ among us,” the singer told The Guardian. “So, when it came to casting, it was important to me that the storyline follow something real – no acting.”

“The first thing I thought when I met Amy was you would have never known that she had been living out of her car with two kids and nowhere to go,” he added. “Hearing her story is such a solid example that there are people we pass all around us every day who are going through tough times. It’s dedicated to all the ‘Risers.'”

A lot of emotion and heart went into making the Grammy-nominated album “Riser,” which was produced by Roanoke County native Ross Copperman.

Lyrics:
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

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

I’m a riser
I’m a get off of the ground, don’t run and hider
Pushin’ comes to shove
Hey I’m a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter
A get out aliver, of the fire
Survivor

If we ain’t got no money I can make it
And I ain’t afraid of working to the bone
When I don’t know what I’m doin’ I can fake it
I’ll pray ’til Jesus rolls away the stone

I’m a riser
I’m a get off of the ground, don’t run and hider
When pushin’ comes to shove
Hey I’m a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter
A get out aliver, of the fire
Survivor

I’m a trier
I’m a get down low so I can lift you higher
An army couldn’t keep down my desire
Yeah

I’m a riser
I’m a get off of the ground, don’t run and hider
Hey pushin’ comes to shove
And baby I’m a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter
Get out aliver, of the fire
Survivor, I’m a riser

I’m a riser
I’m a riser
I’m a riser
I’m a riser

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!