Country star Dierks Bentley is joining forces with a member of Bon Iver on his newest single. "Hold the Light" sees Bentley team up with the Wisconsin indie folk band's S. Carey. The unexpected duo's new collaboration is coming out ahead of the movie Only the Brave, which also features the song.
"Hold the Light" is Bentley's first-ever song for a film, and this one is personal for him. His newest cut is a ballad that pays tribute to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives in 2013 while fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Dierks Bentley is an Arizona native, and he says that the song "stirs up a crazy range of emotions" whenever he hears it.
The song is written by Bentley, Carey, Joe Trapanese and John Randall. Trapanese, who composes the film's score, had its main theme added into the song. The seamless tie-in results in a ballad that is both sonically and thematically important to the film.
Only the Brave brings up a lot of personal memories for Bentley. When news of the hotshots' passing hit, he mobilized. In 2013, he hosted the Country Cares Concert to raise funds for the firefighters' families. Over time, Bentley has even befriended Brendan McDonough. McDonough is the only Granite Mountain Hotshot to survive the blaze.
Despite the saddening subject matter of the film, "Hold the Light" ends it on a high note.
"Our goal was to make it a message of hope and love," says Bentley in a press release. "I'm honored to have been a part of it."
So, at its center, Only the Light focuses on the Granite Mountain Hotshots for what they were -- heroes. It's suitable, then, that at the center of "Hold the Light" are themes of resilience and hope. While the windswept, ambient country ballad focuses on loss, it also focuses on the faith that we will see our loved ones again.
Only the Braves hits theatres on Oct. 20. An advance screening of the film gained Bentley's admiration. He says, "It's like Top Gun for wilderness firefighters. It has a lot of energy to it."
It's also personal for Carey, whose brother-in-law is a wilderness fighter. He calls it a "true honor" to work on "Hold the Light" with Bentley, Trapanese and Randall.
For more information on how you can support wildland fighter communities and honor the Granite Mountain Hotshots, visit the Only the Brave website.