When Dierks Bentley played his new single, the deeply romantic and reverential “Woman, Amen” for its intended subject, his wife Cassidy Black, she admitted that it was not her favorite selection on his forthcoming album, The Mountain.
“She’s been around me too long. I’ve come back from so many writing appointments over the past 12 years like ‘I wrote this song about you’ and she’s like, ‘Just because it’s a love song doesn’t mean it’s about me.’ She can see through things,” the country star says, laughing, while seated on a couch at West Hollywood’s Sunset Marquis.
However with convincing sincerity, Bentley says the uplifting tune “really was one of my more personal songs about her and about the way I feel…a song that talks about how I’d be lost without [Cassidy].”
The ringing, uptempo track, out today, pays homage to the love that rescued him in a world that breaks people over and over again. “I know I was saved the night that she gave this drifter’s heart a home,” he sings in the shimmering song of devotion.
A first look at a video for the song, filmed during the recording, premieres below.
Bentley co-wrote “Woman, Amen” with frequent collaborators Josh Kear and Ross Copperman in Nashville in-between writing the bulk of The Mountain in Telluride and returning to the picturesque Colorado town two months later to record the set. He fell so in love with Telluride after playing the Telluride Bluegrass Festival this summer that he summoned several of his favorite songwriters, including Copperman, Natalie Hemby, Luke Dick, Jon Randall, Jon Nite and Ashley Gorley, for a five-day writing retreat there.
“‘Woman, Amen’ wasn’t part of that trip out there, but we were definitely still riding the high of Telluride when were were writing in the room,” Bentley says. “When I heard that title — Josh threw it out — I was like, ‘I don’t even know what that means. It just feels like something I want to say’.”
Bentley picked the song as the first single off his first album since 2016’s Black, in part because it was so different from Black’s final single, last summer’s “What the Hell Did I Say.”
“I feel like it all starts at home with my wife. She is who grounds me, she is also the one who has helped me to grow as a person over all these years, so I feel if I’m going to tell these stories [on this album] right, I need to start with her,” he says. “It’s that sound, that drive, having something that’s uptempo and really makes you feel great, but isn’t a funny song. I’ve had those. I’m trying to get to that same party place, but get there in a way that’s a little deeper.”
Drummer Matt Chamberlain, best known for his work with Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, provides “Woman, Amen’s” propulsive groove. “We all just sat there in the control room watching him play,” Bentley says. “Reid Shippen, our engineer, was like ‘This is a bucket list item’.”
Bentley, who continues to challenge himself with each album, is now finishing the set, which he calls “a merger” between Black and his critically acclaimed 2010 bluegrass-influenced set Up on the Ridge, for a tentative Spring release.
Listen to a portion of the jagged title track below.