Not since “We Are the World” have so many superstars blended their voices on one recording.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards, 30 of the genre’s biggest names join forces for “Forever Country,” an exquisitely orchestrated medley of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” [Listen below.]
The wail of a steel guitar precedes Brad Paisley’s opening line, “Almost heaven, West Virginia. . . ” — with Keith Urban chiming in for “Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. . .” Voices that follow include Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Luke Bryan, Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson. Miranda Lambert has the first line of Parton’s classic ballad, and that’s where the mashup begins, as Eric Church immediately follows with another line from Denver’s tune. Jason Aldean has the honor of beginning “On the Road Again” about halfway into the track, with Lady Antebellum and Nelson himself quickly joining in. You can watch clips of all 30 artists in the recording studio here.
The single was produced by decorated songwriter Shane McAnally, the 2014 CMA Award winner for Song of the Year (Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow”). A full music video will follow on September 20th. The CMA’s CEO Sarah Trahern calls the recording “a statement on the heritage and future of the Country Music industry, and a reflection of this year’s Awards theme: ‘Then. Now. Forever Country.'”
The 50th Annual CMA Awards air live from Nashville on November 2nd on ABC. Leading the pack of nominees are Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton and Eric Church. The three-hour broadcast will be hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, for their ninth consecutive year.