Folks often bitch and moan about the lack of music on CMT, which has been notching its best ratings ever with the Jersey Shore-meets-Dukes of Hazzard reality petri dish, Party Down South. But when the pioneering country network does revisit its musical roots (in addition to its exceptional all-video CMT Pure offshoot), it does so with programming that is without peer. Case in point, the cable station’s crown jewel, CMT Crossroads, which pairs a country singer with an artist from another genre. Its latest, premiering June 13, wrangles Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry for a particularly hip and timely episode — the polarizing “Follow Your Arrow” cowgirl will be joining pop superstar Perry on her Prismatic World Tour in August.
But Crossroads’ most close-to-perfect pairing happened 10 years earlier when Wynonna shared the stage with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. Wynonna’s outsized personality and arena-ready voice fell right alongside that of Heart belter Ann Wilson, who, vocally, could have been separated at birth from the daughter half of the Judds.
Taped in Nashville, the installment featured the power singers trading lines on a blazing cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock and Roll,” Wynonna’s “No One Else on Earth” and Heart’s “Magic Man.” While the two women performed together in the past, steamrolling through Heart’s “Barracuda” during an all-star jam on one of Lifetime’s Women Rock concerts in 2000, it’s on this take of “Magic Man” where they sounded most in the zone.
The lead track off Heart’s debut album, Dreamboat Annie, “Magic Man” has become a class-rock radio mainstay since its release in 1976, and the country-rock leanings of Wynonna helped give the song new life in a live setting, elevating it above some of the more average past Crossroads fare. Had this version been released as its own single, it would have likely worked its titular magic on country radio, where bombast and vocal acrobatics have come to reign.