Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: RiserReleased: 2013Charted:
This Dierks Bentley and Brett James-penned cut is one of the most personal songs the former has ever written or recorded. At the same time it hits a lot of universal themes that everyone can relate to:
My faith, your love, our freedom
To the things I can count on
To keep me going strong
Yeah I hold on, I hold on
"It's about holding on to things that mean something to me and really expressing the sentiment of, 'Trust me, I'm not going anywhere,'" Bentley explained to Billboard magazine. "It incorporates some bigger imagery, and people seem to get it right away."
The song provided the soundtrack for the GAC network's #DearAmerica campaign, where they asked viewers to write or show in pictures what they loved most about their country.
Bentley explained how the lyrics pin spiritual questions to material possessions. "If you asked me to sum myself up in three minutes, I'd play 'I Hold On' for you. At first listen, you might think it's about my truck or my guitar, but it's really about why I do some of the things I do and the kind of guy I am," he said.
Bentley added: "The chorus is really universal…it's about faith, love and freedom…I don't think there's a country fan out there who doesn't live with those as big priorities. I hope through this song I'm able to let the fans into my heart and my mind a little more, and that they can also relate it back to themselves and their own lives."
The song's music video was directed by Wes Edwards, who also helmed Bentley's "5-1-5-0
" clip. It follows a young musician balancing his climb in the music business with keeping a firm grip on the values he holds close.
"It was really important to me that this video capture the story of this song…my story. But it also needed to take on the more universal themes that the choruses cover," said Bentley. "The lyrics were written from such a real and emotional place, and I put a lot of pressure on making sure this video held up to what Brett James and I wrote that day. I hope when people listen to it, they raise their beers up, but this time for the bigger idea of what we all stand for as country music fans…faith, love and freedom."
The Riser album was written and recorded in the year following the death of Bentley's father. This was the first song the singer wrote after his passing and it was inspired by the old pickup truck that he and his dad had driven to Nashville years ago. Looking at it made Bentley think of how he holds onto things that have meaning to him.
The song topped both the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase radio charts. "I was just sitting in my truck looking over at the passenger seat where my dad sat almost 20 years ago when we drove from Phoenix to Nashville at the beginning of this honky tonk dream. He would love that a song inspired from that road trip made it to the top of the country charts," said Bentley. "I've said from the beginning, if you want to know who I am in three minutes and thirty seconds, play this song."
When Wes Edwards was looking for someone to play the young musician in the video, he found somebody already onset: the assistant cameraman, who also happened to have a model girlfriend. He told us in a 2015 interview
: "I called him up and said, 'Hey, I know you're not really an actor, but do you think you would want to come in and let me video you and your girlfriend and just try and do a camera test and see how it turns out?'" The director was also shooting footage Bentley's Riser
documentary at the same time. The clip was shot en route to Texas while the singer was on tour.