Songs of Summer Barbecues, Sponsored by Jack Daniel’s
American Songwriter has partnered up with Jack Daniel’s across Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama to identify some favorite Songs of Summer Barbecues. During the series, American Songwriter will be taking a deeper dive into songs that have become as essential to barbecues as grills, good food, and friends. If you’re 21 and older, be sure to make Jack Daniel’s part of your next summer barbecue, and please remember to always drink responsibly!
Dierks Bentley has no shortage of floor-filling country anthems that seem tailor-made for letting loose and having a good time. Among his catalog though are a few tracks that leave the listener with that same optimistic spirit, but take more earnest roads to get there.
One such song is “Living.” The chorus is not only an earworm but a mantra for all of us to turn off our autopilot and start really taking in all that life has to offer. Below, we’re going through the origins and meaning behind Bentley’s “Living.” Let’s dive in.
“Living” was released as a single from Bentley’s 2018 album The Mountain, alongside “Woman, Amen” and “Burning Man.”
Bentley debuted this song during a tour stop in Las Vegas in 2017. Before playing the slow-burning ballad, he told the audience, “When you live on the road, there are very few days you’re living. Most of your time, you crash in the hotel room. It’s dark, it’s lonesome, you’re tired. You’re missing stuff. We try to live every day. No matter what we do, we try to do something that makes us feel like we’re living. That’s how this song came about.
Meaning Behind The Lyrics
This mornin’ I got up at 6:01 / I walked out and saw the rising sun / And I drank it in like whiskey / I saw a tree I’ve seen a thousand times, Bentley sings in the opening lines of “Living.” The song remains one of Bentley’s top tracks five years after its release. A large part of the song’s appeal is Bentley’s focus on the “everyday” moments that often go unappreciated but, when given a second thought, they can be sources of happiness in our lives.
“It’s not about skydiving or bull riding,” Bentley once explained. “It could be just watching your kid play hockey and being focused on that and not watching your iPhone. It could be just appreciating that it’s sunny outside and taking a moment to recognize that.”
In the lyrics, Bentley urges the listener to not look past those special moments and grab all the happiness they can from them.
Sometimes it’s just beatin’
Some days you just forget
What all you’ve been given
Yeah, some days you just get back
And some days you’re just alive
Some days you’re livin’ (ooh) mm, hm
Some days you’re livin’ (ooh) mm, hm
Living in the Moment
Bentley co-wrote the song with hit songwriters Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, and Jon Nite and continues to learn how to live in the moment thanks to the uptempo track.
“It’s become a mantra for me and the guys on the road,” Bentley told iHeart about the song. “It’s more than just a song for me it’s a way of life. I’m guilty of trying to pack in a lot every day. I think for me personally I’m trying to do less things. I really focus on the top 3 things that are important to me. That s my family, obviously, the live show, and making records. That’s about it.
“You focus on the things you want to put your heart into. Living is just about being present in the moment you are in,” he continued. “It’s hard to be present when you’re really scattered. I think the phone plays a huge part in that and I’m certainly guilty of it. So just finding ways to put the phone down, try to not be so productive all the time, and just live a little.”