Country Stars Inspired by ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp in Nashville

Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young Take Part in This Year’s Camp Song

Remember summer camp, when you’d sit around a bonfire and sing “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” and “The Green Grass Grew All Around”?

Well, this new one is not your run-of-the-mill summer camp song.

Dierks Bentley recently spent some time with the campers at the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp, and together with songwriter Ross Copperman they co-wrote “I Love Big,” a song about going into everything with a big heart.

“This is my first chance getting to be a part of this process and it was awesome,” Bentley told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. “It’s like when you visit a children’s hospital and you’re like, ‘I’m going to lift these kids up.’ Then you walk in there and you’re, ‘Oh, they’re going to lift me up.’ They inspire you so much,”

The one-week ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp welcomed campers with Williams syndrome. Williams syndrome, a genetic condition at birth and is characterized by cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning challenges. But the children with WS also have strong verbal and social skills and an affinity for music.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 22: Singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley joins ACM Lifting Lives campers during ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp Songwriting Workshop at Vanderbilt University on June 22, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music) Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music

In in an interview for the Academy of Country Music, Bentley described his own feelings about having a song you wrote make it all the way to the Grand Ole Opry.

“I go back to when I first started writing songs,” he said. “I was just hoping someone would even hear the song, let alone be sung by someone as good of a singer as Chris Young. That’s a pretty cool thing.”

Kelsea Ballerini recorded the song on Monday (June 26) before Young performs it on Tuesday night.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 26:  Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini joins ACM Lifting Lives music campers during Music Camp Studio Day at on June 26, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music) Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music

Bentley said the campers provided some great ideas they incorporated into the song.

“It had to be a pretty good song because Chris Young has to go sing it on the Opry stage. These guys get a whole 10-year experience compressed into five days,” he said.

Other activities during this year’s ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp included dinner and karaoke with Jerrod Niemann, a meet-and-greet with Savannah Chrisley and Todd Chrisley and a visit to Seacrest Studios at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt hosted by radio personality Bobby Bones.

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 25:  Singer-songwriter Jerrod Niemann enjoys karaoke Night with ACM Lifting Lives music campers at Winner's Bar on June 25, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music) Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music
Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.