Copyright ©2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now a conversation about one song that's caught our ear, the song that speaks to where this country is and who we are in troubled times. It's the new single from country music star Dierks Bentley, an anthem called "Home."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOME")

DIERKS BENTLEY: (Singing) West, on a plane bound west, I see her stretching out below. The land, blessed motherland, the place where I was born. Scars. Yeah, she's got her scars. Sometimes it starts to worry me. 'Cause lose, I don't want to lose the sight of who we are...

BLOCK: And Dierks Bentley joins me from Nashville to talk about the song. Dierks, welcome to the program.

BENTLEY: Oh thanks, Melissa. What an honor. Thank you so much for having me on.

BLOCK: Well, tell me where the idea for this came from.

BENTLEY: You know, a lot of times when you're writing songs, you have an idea that you've been working on or it hits you somewhere. And sometimes you mumble your way into a hook, if that makes any sense. You're just kind of mumbling along to the melody and all of a sudden, the place we all call home just kind of spring.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOME")

BENTLEY: (Singing) It's been a long haul, got a ways to go, but this is still the place that we all call home.

BLOCK: Had you been thinking as you were writing this song, you know, I want to write something about America? I want some sort of anthem.

BENTLEY: Well, I think it's always on my mind as a traveling musician who, you know, I go to all, you know, continental 48 states throughout the year. And I think it's definitely on my mind. And I wasn't actually trying to write a song like this. These are - they're kind of difficult songs to write, the patriotic songs.

BLOCK: Difficult songs to write because you worry about, what, going overboard?

BENTLEY: Yes, it's just when we had that line - the place we all call home - it's like, wow, we're definitely going to bite off a big one here. This is a tough song to finish the right way that isn't polarizing, isn't chest-beating. It's relatable to everybody. Trying to write a song that reaches out to everybody and hopefully, at the end of the day, when we were writing the song, once we started getting into it, it's like you want this to be inspiring and hopeful but also address the realities of what's going on.

I think the first thing I thought of when we started writing it was the shooting that happened in Tucson, Arizona with Gabby Giffords. That had happened about four days earlier. And just that for me of being my home state, just that invokes so many different feelings of anger and questions of why. And it all kind of came together in this song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOME")

BENTLEY: (Singing) Free, nothing feels like freedom what sometimes means we don't get along. 'Cause same, no we're not the same, 'cause that's what makes a strong...

BLOCK: It's interesting you mention the chest beating in terms of patriotic songs, because if you listen to a bunch of recent country songs about America, patriotic songs that came out, especially after 9/11, there was a lot of chest pounding, Jingoistic tone, us versus them.

BENTLEY: Right.

BLOCK: I wonder if you were sort of deliberately trying to do something in a different way.

BENTLEY: Well, I think I was trying to write a song is just honest. And I think, you know, that's where you find a real relief, real inspiration, real hope, real understanding of what's going on. I mean, it's easy to sell something to say, were number one. It feels good, but it's not necessarily truthful or really helpful. But I think, in the end, it makes it honest. And country music has always been about honesty. You know, that's what makes it great.

BLOCK: I've been talking with Dierks Bentley about his new song, titled "Home." Dierks, thanks so much.

BENTLEY: Thank you, Melissa. I really appreciate it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOME")

BENTLEY: (Singing) Brave, got to call it brave to chase that dream across the sea. Names, and they sign their names for something that...

UNKNOWN: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.