Craig Wiseman Reveals the Story Behind "Believe"

(recorded by Brooks & Dunn)

"The Hitmen of Music Row"'s Craig Wiseman.

Written by Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn

I was dropping off a CD of the song "Hillbilly Deluxe" at Ronnie Dunn's on my way home. When I buzzed at the gate, he told me to come on in. We had met a few times but didnt really know each other, so after I played the song we started talking and he asked about my wife and I told him she was a minister. He said that he had considered seminary at one point. (!) That led us to talking about heaven and angels and eternity and such.

I told him about a sweet old lady that had called me after she heard my song "Live Like You Were Dying." She's an old school African American woman from my hometown. She started telling me that God was in my work and she could hear him in my voice and that to never doubt that God was always with me and all of us. Well, I just sat on the phone with her for 20 minutes in tears, listening to someone with the strongest faith I had ever felt talk about God.

I told Ronnie about it and eventually I said I had this little start ot something and sang the first of the chorus: "I raise my hands and I bow my head and I'm finding more and more truth in the words written in red..." We tried several verses and it wasn't right. Finally I just took off on this story that made no sense, but Ronnie liked it and we kept going till midnight. That was in the spring. Brooks and Dunn went on tour and time passed.

Six months later I went out to Ronnie's to write again and nothing was coming. He asked about that song — we had never written the first word down or recorded anything — but I remembered it and as we hit the places we didn't have, they just filled in as we sang it. A few days later I left the guitar vocal in his mailbox, thinking the LAST thing anybody needed was a 4-minute ballad that wasn't a love song. A week later he called and said they had cut it.

A few weeks later, I sat completely STUNNED as I heard the cut. Ronnie had taken that little song and had turned it into the record. It is and will always be the most shocking transformation of a song into an amazing piece of music I will ever have in my career. Absolutely stunning. Ronnie is amazing and I will love him forever for finding every angel in our little weird song. Amen.

Oh, that lady that called is Sister Elma Dennis in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We call each other still. Tell her I said hi if you see her.