The relentless sun was baking Nashville sidewalks to barbecue intensity Thursday afternoon (Aug. 16) as guests streamed into Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row saloon to toast the writers of Bentley’s latest No. 1 single, “Woman, Amen.”
Security guards ushered partygoers through the packed downstairs restaurant and up the long stairway to the barnlike room where the congratulatory speeches and trophy presentations took place.
Bentley and his two co-writers — Josh Kear and Ross Copperman — stood on the stage at the street side of the room taking questions from reporters and posing for pictures with music industry friends as the revels got underway.
In the meantime, a string of bartenders at the opposite end of the room was busy doling out any beer, wine or mixed drink the guests asked for. A food counter was set up near the stage, stocked and continuously replenished with trays of hummus, mac and cheese and American and “Tennessee Hot” sliders.
A representative of ASCAP, the performance rights society of which Bentley is a member, joined the songwriters to announce that “Woman, Amen” is Bentley’s 17th No. 1 as a recording artist and his 14th as a songwriter.
The song is from Bentley’s album The Mountain, a collection of tunes written in Telluride, Co. with a covey of fellow composers Bentley transported there for that specific purpose. Of the album’s 13 songs, Bentley co-wrote 10.
“Woman, Amen” is Kear’s 14th No. 1 and Copperman’s 18th. Copperman and Jon Randall produced the song.
Cindy Mabe, the president of UMG Nashville, Bentley’s parent label, also came forward to congratulate him. She described his winning song as “a beacon of gratitude.”
Bentley agreed, explaining that his wife’s serving as a stabilizing counterpoint to his “drifter’s life” on the road directly inspired the song.
“I felt like I needed this song in my life,” he said. “But the lyrics could apply to so many women.” Among these, he cited Mabe, his manager, Mary Hilliard Harrington, and Pat Rolfe, the former ASCAP official who signed him and supported his career in its earliest stages.
“How many women does it take to make a country singer’s success?” he asked rhetorically. “A lot,” he answered.