If you ever pull up next to me at a stoplight, try not to laugh when you glance over. Chances are, you’ll see me gripping the steering wheel deep in the throes of belting out whatever song my stereo is blasting. As Maya Angelou puts it, “Music [is] my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
People often ask me what’s my favorite song or band, and I’m never able to answer with just one. And whatever that answer may be changes depending on the time of day, where I am and what I’m doing. I use music. I use it to vent frustrations, to fall asleep, to find a rhythm, to understand why’s and how’s. While many listen to music for the sound, the quick rat-tat-tats that provide a beated soundtrack to life, I turn up my volume for the lyrics. I think it’s the words in a song that create the tone of music. And I’ve found that my favorite lyrics stem from country music (it was a shocker when I first realized this fact).
Country music always tells a story; that southern belle who when cheated on by a brute in too tight jeans extracts her revenge by digging a key into the side of his truck or a guy who makes up a persona online of being a 6’5” hot Hollywood stud who drives a Maserati. And it’s the stories I love. Yes, I laugh out loud by myself at some of these croonings. I identify with the tales of woe and memories of good times, kegs in closets, and pizzas on the floor. And I may or may not fist pump to give the horse a break and choose the cowboy instead…I can’t help myself; the fist has a will of its own and who wouldn’t want to save the horse?
So…it didn’t take much convincing when my two coworkers, Christine and Michele, busted into my office on Monday to see if I wanted to go and have lunch with Dierks Bentley. Now by lunch, they really meant sitting in on the live recording of Lunch Time Live Chat with Dierks Bentley at WMZQ studios. At that moment, I couldn’t think of any song I knew by Dierks, but I love live music so I jumped at the chance (it turns out, I knew more than I thought).
For those of you who don’t know Dierks (we’re now on a first name basis), he just released his 5th album, Feel that Fire on Feb. 3 and was doing the media rounds prior to boost the hype for it. One stop was the WMZQ radio station in Rockville, MD and I sat in the second row excited to see the preview. It’s so interesting to me to have that moment of realization when you figure out a celebrity is just a regular person who a lot of people happen to know about and talk about.
The stage was just two microphones and two stools. Dierks sat before his mic and leaned back on the stool as he played his old guitar (worn where his pinky rubbed at countless concerts and campfires and signed by his two favorite George’s…I’ll give you a hint, one is not George Bush). With him was another singer or partner-in-good-ole’-boy-crime, Rod Janzen. The two were in perfect sync as they played some old songs and ones off the newer record. Their harmony blended well with the sound of their guitars, and I couldn’t help but bob my heel (I was on my lunch break after all) to the beat. The audience stumped the two during a q&a on a few tried and true tunes, but Dierks and Rod handled it well, bantering back and forth, and making both mental and verbal notes to re-learn The Heaven I’m Headin’ To once they settled back on their tour bus.
Dierks talked a bit about the album, favorites on it and why some were written. Check out his website for the song’s full histories, www.dierks.com. While I may not have gotten a signed CD (I wasn’t a lucky call-in winners, just a tag-a-long moocher), I did spend a fantastic hour listening to true, thoughtful words put to great music (and I got a picture with him!) …(Dierks, if you read this, I’d love one and would be more than willing to buy it if you sign it (I was the girl in the red sweater?))…(woops sorry about the tangent). And though I didn’t get to eat my sandwich on my 60 minute lunch, listening to Dierks sing for an hour was more than worth it.