I love writing about concerts. One of the most challenging things I've found in maintaining a blog is finding enough friends to join me at concerts. I have become self-conscious that I invite the same people over and over again. When I heard that Dierks Bentley was playing in Greensboro, NC, half an hour from Mom's house, I tried something new and asked if she'd like to accompany me.
"That sounds very interesting." my intellectual, classical music loving Mom said. "Sure! It will be an experience." Mom had no idea who Dierks Bentley is and doesn't listen to country music, but just like in 1983 when she agreed to chaperon my friends and I to The Police concert, Mom proved that she will go along with anything to be a part of her childrens' lives. At The Police concert she held her hands over her ears for the entire show, and at the end turned to us and said "That was fun!" "But Mom, you covered your ears the entire time!" "That's OK. I could still hear."
The Cadillac Black (TCB) opened the show. They were loud. For a minute I thought Dierks Bentley had embraced Eric Church's behavior of having a musician go out and play something raucous to drive away the elderly, but Bentley is a nicer guy than that.
|Mom during The Cadillac Black's set|
The Cadillac Black's "Whiskey Soaked Redemption"
Mom was happier with the Eli Young band. They closed their set with "Crazy Girl", the crowd belting out the chorus.
Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl"
Dierks Bentley was relaxed, fun-loving and mischievous to a degree that I haven't seen in many other performers. He held fans' hands, took a sip from someone's flask, bantered, flirted, serenaded and made everyone there, including Mom, feel as loved as he himself must certainly feel. Mom's comment was "He is polished and comfortable in his own skin." Thankfully, his sound was fantastic so Mom could understand the wonderful lyrics and connect to his songs.
He opened with "Cold Cans" (and Country cliche. Oy!) and then moved through his hits and fan favorites. Before playing "Up on the Ridge" from his Bluegrass inspired album, he acknowledged North Carolina's influential role in the Bluegrass genre. He skipped the ritual of an encore and closed the set with "Home", "Tip it on Back" and everyone's favorite "What Was I Thinking?"
Mom teared up when he sang "Home". In 1956, at thirteen, she moved to the U.S. from Egypt. Egypt had expelled its Jewish residents allowing them to take a only a small amount of money and what they could carry. The verse "Brave/ Gotta call it brave to chase that dream across the sea." makes me think of her as well as my grandparents and great-grandparents who escaped the oppressive countries they were born in to create a better life for us in America.
Dierks Bentley's "Home"
When the show was over Mom said "That was fun! I'll go to another concert with you!" Perhaps I shouldn't consider my difficulty in finding concert companions a hindrance, rather a challenge to connect more willing friends and loved-ones to country music.
In this blog I struggle to balance information about a song, album, or event, and my personal story. At times I try to approach writing more like a journalist, but stories like this, about my personal connection to country music, are the reason I write.