This song was partially inspired by a fallen hero. "One of my dearest friends from back home was an Army Ranger," Brantley Gilbert explained to Billboard magazine. "He lost his best friend over there, and watched it happen. The guy was in front of him in a Humvee, and he got hit and blown up. He was telling me about the situation and talking to the guys' dad and his family, and how much that affected him."
Gilbert was moved and put his feelings to paper. "I wasn't with my friend Josh, but the feelings I felt when he was telling me the story were nowhere near close to what he felt, but visually I felt like I could see it. I felt like I was there," he said. "I actually got a chance to meet his friend's sister at a show."
"The first verse of 'One Hell Of An Amen' talks about a soldier's funeral," Gilbert added. "It's real broad and general, but after meeting her, it hit me even harder. #1 singles are cool, and they are a blessing, but the most rewarding part of my job is when a person comes up to me and says 'That song you wrote helped me through this situation.' Talking with her about that song, it really hit home hard. It felt like the right place to write it from. I think my co-writers, Mike Dekle and Brian Davis. would agree with me."
Brantley Gilbert wrote with Brian Davis and Mike Dekle after he returned from a USO tour in 2013. "A friend of mine from back home came to me and told me the story of losing his best friend in Kirkuk, Iraq," Gilbert explained on the Bobby Bones Show. "He really told me the story in a light where I felt like I was there. I try not to write about anything I haven't been through or been really close to. I ended up getting to meet the guy's sister and learn more about him."
"I always said I was a supporter of the military, but I went over and did the USO tour, and I think that had a lot to do with inspiring some of that," he continued. "Especially that story is just close to my heart. I really wanted to raise attention to our military and that ultimate sacrifice, that we do get to be free and do our jobs."
Gilbert told reporters that he had a feeling, even while he was still writing this with Mike Delke and Brian Davis, that it would be a "career song."
"We really just tried our best to keep it simple and not try to be too artsy with it," he explained. "It was a simplistic song that just offered a different way to look at the situation, a more positive way, and hopefully offer some time of healing. I'll say, from that point, it almost wrote itself, once we really got our direction on it."
"You know, kind of, when one writes itself like that, that you're on to something. You don't know what," Gilbert added. "I know I'm not good enough in my job to say, 'Okay, I'm going to sit down and write a #1 song.' This might not be a real popular opinion these days, but this song was a 'God thing,' in my heart and in my mind."
The song gained a whole new layer of depth for Gilbert after his war veteran grandfather passed away in 2015. "My grandfather loved my grandmother as much as I've ever seen a man love a woman - that's the way I want to love my wife," he told The Boot
. "The legacy that he left behind to his children and grandchildren was incredible. I chose to celebrate his life … and that song took on a whole new shape."