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10 Most Unexpected Country Collaborations of 2014

Rock legends join Nashville newbies, a pop princess enlightens a country quartet and more of this year’s musical odd couples

ZZ Top Florida Georgia Line Jason Derulo

ZZ Top perform with Jason Derulo and Florida Georgia Line at the 2014 CMT Music Awards.

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Cross-genre pairings are nothing new in country music: Willie Nelson has lit up the charts with duet partners ranging from Julio Iglesias to Snoop Dogg. Johnny Cash once collaborated with members of Nirvana and Soundgarden. And CMT has made a whole show, Crossroads, out of rock-country mashups. But this year has seen more than its share of head-scratching duets — some that resulted in awe-inspiring, unique music, and others that genre-crashed and burned. Here are the 10 collaborations that surprised us most in 2014.

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GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Dolly Parton performs with Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi on the Pyramid Stage on Day 3 of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on June 29, 2014 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Redferns via Getty Images)

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Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora

Glastonbury Festival, June 29th
It doesn’t get more random than Dolly Parton drafting Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora to arrange a country-gospel take on Bon Jovi’s 1989 hit "Lay Your Hands on Me" for her 2014 LP, Blue Smoke. Actually, it does get more random: Check out the Bon Jovi guitarist making a cameo with Parton during her triumphant set at Glastonbury 2014, a festival headlined this year by Arcade Fire, Metallica and Kasabian. Other acts on the Glasto undercard included Jack White, Lana Del Rey and the Pixies, making the festival a Teflon cavalcade of cool. But the massive crowd responds to this unexpected pairing with a standing ovation. Once again, at 68, Parton proves how her awesomeness transcends any and all musical or cultural boundaries, by bringing a sleeveless Richie Sambora to shred licks and bust out manly, Trey Parker-parody-worthy call-and-response vocals on a stage typically reserved for the likes of Radiohead.

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