Dierks Bentley Gets Friendly at Pre-Grammy Show
If only one thing was evident from Dierks Bentley's pre-Grammy show at Los Angeles' Troubadour Saturday night (February 12), it's that he has a lot of quality friends. And that's not just counting the ones he brought on stage. The singer-songwriter, who was up for three Grammys Sunday (February 13), mixed genre and professional lines to create a magnificent night of music.
Throughout the night, famous faces could be seen among the crowd from Elvis Costello to Ray LaMontagne to Mumford & Sons. Dierks shared the stage with country's Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown and Blake Shelton, as well as the Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, Paramore's Hayley Williams and 'Country Strong' actor Garrett Hedlund.
David Nail opened the show, thanking Dierks for "inviting me to be the intro music while [Dierks and the other artists] drink." Although, he did point out the upside to his predicament. "I guess the glorious part of that is that he's going to come out here and play until three and I'll get to sit up there and drink," David said with a laugh.
Dierks took the stage of the packed venue to a blanket of screams. His first guest, Sam Bush, joined him for the song the two performed at a Nashville flood relief benefit, 'Gold Heart Locket.' Then, Dierks and his band brought up the energy for 'Feel That Fire,' 'Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go),' 'Lot of Leavin' Left to Do' and 'Trying to Stop Your Leavin'.'
"This guy was hanging out in Nashville," Dierks told the crowd about his first guest. "He kept walking in at 10am with a six pack. I found out later that he was working on a movie and he loved country music." Garrett Hedlund took the stage to pay homage to a mutual hero, Kris Kristofferson, with a rendition of the icon's tune 'The Pilgrim.'
Next up, Lady Antebellum entered to an outpouring of love from the fans. The trio's Hillary Scott warned the audience, "You're in for a very special night," before launching into 'Love Don't Live Here,' while Dierks strummed along. Dierks admitted that the group had asked to do a Johnny Cash tune, but intuitively enticed them to share their all-genre Song/Record of the Year Grammy nominated 'Need You Now' with the audience, which ended up winning both categories, as well as Country Song of the Year.
After the trio left the stage, Dierks dedicated his next song, 'Diamonds Make Babies' to Charles, whose wife Cassie "has a beautiful ring," in Dierks' words. "Here's a little advice Charles, diamonds make babies," Dierks teased.
Donning his standard beanie, Zac Brown came out and quietly and ran through Hank Williams' catalog before deciding on 'Your Cheatin' Heart.' After the tune, the audience made it very clear that they wanted to hear the Zac Brown Band's 'Colder Weather.' Zac obliged with a solo acoustic rendition of the the group's current single, which became a sing along.
Dierks followed with 'Settle for a Slowdown' and 'Every Mile a Memory' before introducing some of his "best friends in the world," the Travelin' McCourys. "This is one of the most underrated but most incredibly written songs," Ronnie McCoury said as he and the band started into 'Sideways.' Then the group, who tested the weight limit of the stage with nine bodies on the structure, performed 'Fiddlin' Around,' from the host's 'Up on the Ridge' project. Del McCoury even joined the tribe for a few traditional bluegrass songs.
Perhaps one of the more surprising guests was the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who shocked Dierks when he first heard the guitarist tearing up a Bill Monroe tune. Dan took the lead on both a tune from the Carter Family and Mr. Monroe. Keeping the non-traditional country theme, Paramore's Hayley Williams, a Tennessean native, sang 'The Only Exception,' leaving Dierks to ask, "What other genres are we missing?"
Country came back strong, though, with Miranda Lambert's 'Gunpowder and Lead.' Dierks then coaxed the songstress into a duet of Merle Haggards' 'Silver Wings.' Dierks wanted to perform their Grammy-nominated collaboration 'Bad Angel' but realized they were missing "some guy with a beard," meaning Jamey Johnson, but settled for Zac Brown, who offered to fill in.
Bromance was the theme of the next guests' performance, as Blake Shelton whispered sweet nothings into Dierks' ears and even seeming to come in for a peck, before pulling away. "I'm sorry about that moment you just witnessed," Blake jokingly apologized to the crowd. "I love each and everyone of y'all. Dierks doesn't give a s--- about you. [laughs]" The music began, and Blake started singing his single 'Who Are You When I'm Not Looking,' to the nights host, who nearly fell off the stage backing away.
After that, Sam Bush returned for 'Up on the Ridge.' "There's never been a more generous musician than Dierks," Sam told the room. Mr. Generous ended the show by asking one musical question, 'What Was I Thinkin''?
Watch Dierks' 'Draw Me a Map' Video