Lyrics Uncovered: Dierks Bentley, ‘Woman, Amen’
When Dierks Bentley, Josh Kear and Ross Copperman sat down to write the "Woman, Amen" lyrics, it wasn't a song, but a prayer.
Kear approached Bentley with the idea, wanting to create something classic like the country songs he grew up listening to as a way to pay tribute to their wives. "I had the title and the phrase, 'Thank God for this woman, amen.' It sounded to me like an old country song. A simple prayer," he explains in an exclusive interview with Taste of Country. "Using 'amen' at the end of a title seems so classic that I couldn't resist trying to do it at least once."
Kear calls Don Schlitz a friend, and he was aiming for the reverence of one of his most beloved hits, Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen." Struck by the power of the word "amen," Kear was eager to create that same impact with one of his own compositions, knowing that Bentley would connect with the sentiment.
"I brought the idea up with Dierks for several reasons. One, I know he loves his wife — body, heart and soul. I feel the same way about my amazing wife. And Ross is right there, as well. It was an easy fit in terms of us all getting on the same page lyrically," Kear says of penning the "Woman, Amen" lyrics. "On top of that, I know how much reverence Dierks has for classic country music. I had no doubt that he would understand where I was coming from lyrically; that he would get the heart of the idea instantly, which of course, he did."
Bentley had a similar reaction to "Woman, Amen" as he did when Kear pitched him on "Drunk on a Plane," which became one of his career-defining No. 1 hits. Sure, he was unsure of what the initial concept should be, but knew it had to be written.
"I heard it and I just thought 'I don't know what that is, but I just love what it says,'" Bentley describes of "Woman, Amen." "It just felt different, which is what I'm always trying to find. I love the message, it's very direct, very honest for me and my relationship with my wife."
The song came together quickly, and the writers debated over whether to make it an outward or inward conversation. The result is a reflection of both concepts, as Bentley chants in the final chorus: "So tonight I will fall down on my knees / 'Cause Lord knows how lucky I am / I'm gonna shout at the top of my lungs / Thank God for this woman, Amen / And thank God for this woman, amen."
"The hardest part lyrically was trying to decide if it was going to be an actual prayer or a conversation with yourself about what you should be praying for," Kear recalls of planning the "Woman, Amen" lyrics. "What we ended up with is a bit of a hybrid of the two approaches. Part of the conversation sounds like it's to yourself and part of it sound like you're talking to God."
The song incorporates a rock 'n' roll element — booming drums and prominent guitar — and actually was born just days after Bentley and Copperman had returned from a U2 show in New Orleans, where the iconic rock band incorporated a line from "Drunk on a Plane" into their performance.
"So they were kind of floating on that rock and roll high a bit too. Naturally that found it's way into our song," Kear says. Bentley's goal was to turn the "Woman, Amen" lyrics into a powerful anthem that has the gentleness of a simple prayer, but carries enough emotion that it could become a crowd participation number.
"I know Dierks had this idea to take such a serious, personal matter and turn it into an anthem. Something that works for his live show, but also treats the subject with the thought and respect it deserves. He wanted the sentiment to be as large and powerful as the venues he plays in," Kear says, citing the hook as the "centerpiece" of the song. "It all comes back to that simple, honest statement. I also love the 'I need all the cracks in my shattered heart, cause that's where her love gets in' line."
"I have a strong, independent, talented, kind hearted, intelligent woman that I get to walk through life with matching me stride for stride. She's the embodiment of the best parts of my life," he continues. "I have much in my life to be thankful for — and on that list she will always be at the top. Thus, 'Thank God for this woman, amen' isn't anything but an honest statement of gratitude for the single greatest blessing my life will ever know."
Bentley feels the same way about his wife, Cassidy Black. "The more life goes on, the more we just grow closer and closer and I'm just more grateful for her," the singer says. "She has more vision in some ways, as most women do. So I feel like the song is very personal, very honest, very direct, but it's also very universal."
"Woman, Amen" is the lead single off Bentley's The Mountain album, which he wrote and recorded with several Nashville hitmakers in the mountains of Colorado.
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