Steve Wariner Records With Thrash-Metal Pioneers Megadeth

Nashville guitar hero strikes up unlikely friendship with Dave Mustaine, the heavy-metal band's leader

One of country music's most versatile musicians is living up to his reputation: Steve Wariner recently joined heavy-metal titans Megadeth in the studio to play steel guitar on the group's upcoming album.

In a recent interview with the Tennessean, Wariner, a blistering guitarist who has scored Number One hits with songs like "All Roads Lead to You" and "Small Town Girl," said he and Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine first crossed paths in the recording studio.

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"Imagine Megadeth with steel guitar. That's what I did, and Dave Mustaine is the nicest guy in the world. Isn't that crazy? It's out of my world," Wariner told the Tennessean. "I'm a traditional country guy. But the stuff I played on is awesome."

Mustaine has even attended one of Wariner's shows. But it's not the first time that the former guitarist for Metallica, who went on to establish Megadeth as one of the Big Four of thrash-metal, has worked in the country music community. The band's 1997 album Cryptic Writings and 1999's Risk were both recorded in Nashville, with producer Dann Huff (Faith Hill, Keith Urban) co-producing. Megadeth was also one of the invited artists to perform at the tribute concert to George Jones in 2013, playing an unconventional "Wild Irish Rose" — the band is included in the massive group photo from that evening that covers an entire wall in the new George Jones Museum in downtown Nashville.

Wariner, who released the album It Ain't All Bad in 2013, is set to play City Winery Nashville tonight. And while a surprise thrash-country set from Megadeth is unlikely, it's feasible that Mustaine could drop by. He recently told Rolling Stone that he and his family relocated to Nashville for a fourth time, joining an army of rockers, from Mötley Crüe's Mick Mars to Cinderella's Tom Keifer, who now call Music City home.

"The people are wonderful here. There's certain things I miss about California. . . and certain people I don't," Mustaine says. "But it's funny. I was driving to the studio the other day and I was kind of speeding and I see this sheriff. And I'm like, 'Oh god, I'm busted.' So I do a quick pull-in to the place where I'm going to eat breakfast, I sit down at a table and I start looking out the window. I see the sheriff make a U-turn and pass the restaurant real slow, and then he pulls into the parking lot. He walks in, comes right up to me and I'm thinking, OK, I'm nailed. I start to reach for my wallet. But then he goes, 'I just want to tell you I'm a big fan. We all knew you were moving here and we're so excited to have you here. Welcome.' I was like, 'Get the fuck out!'"