With the Nashville installment of Foo Fighters‘ Sonic Highways HBO show set to air, the group has shared “Congregation,” the raucous, guitar-wailing song it wrote while drawing inspiration from Music City. Specifically, the track contains the line, “And they’re singing like a bluebird in the round,” presumably a reference to the city’s Bluebird Café, which played heavily into the Foos’ time in the city. The band recorded the tune at Nashville-based country artist Zac Brown‘s Southern Ground Studios. The song will appear on the group’s upcoming eighth studio record, also titled Sonic Highways, which is due out November 10th.
News of the group’s Nashville interest came out in May when Dave Grohl made an appearance at the city’s Bluebird Café, where he played a set of Foo songs like “Everlong” and “Big Me” on acoustic guitar. “The Bluebird I knew a little bit about, but I learned a lot,” Grohl later said of the experience. “In Nashville, it seems like there are these rites of passage that you have to go through to become a star, whether you’re a singer or a songwriter, and the Bluebird is really one of those. If you can get down at the Bluebird, you’ve got a gig.”
A preview of the band’s Nashville episode shows Grohl performing at the Bluebird and joking with the audience, “One of these days, I’m gonna get my big break, man,” to laughter from the audience. It also shows interview snippets with Dolly Parton, who talks about the importance of the song in making it country music, and with Carrie Underwood, who talks about how people come to Nashville to write.
In an interview with Billboard, Grohl said he hoped to answer the question, “Why did country go to Nashville?” He also revealed to Rolling Stone that he had spoken in depth with country artists about the genre’s roots in the church.
In addition to recording at Brown’s studio, Grohl has had a long history with the country artist. Last November, he played drums with Brown during the singer’s CMA Awards performance. And earlier this month, Brown joined the Foo Fighters during their Late Show With David Letterman residency to jam out Black Sabbath’s classic “War Pigs.”
Grohl also produced Brown’s EP The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1, which came out last December. “The first time I ever heard Zac was when I hit record in Nashville and said, ‘Okay, we’re rolling,'” Grohl told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I’d never heard one note of his music. They’re unbelievable. The band is so good they can be tracked live. We didn’t fuck with computers; we tracked live, four-part harmonies around one microphone. It’s rocking.”