Dolly Parton’s classic “I Will Always Love You” has been getting renewed interest lately as one of three songs that make up “Forever Country,” the mash-up event recently released by the Country Music Association commemorate the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards. The recording has already soared to the Number One spot of Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart.
Carrie Underwood, who participated in “Forever Country,” is known for singing Parton’s emotional standard during her tour stops. Underwood also performed the song on the Bobby Bones Show in March as part of Joy Week, but her poignant, stirring version has only surfaced on the internet this week.
Underwood’s stripped down rendition – she’s accompanied only by an acoustic guitar – is chill-inducing as she delivers a pitch-perfect interpretation of the bittersweet love song. Clad in a pink t-shirt, her eyes often closed as she performs, Underwood hits the high notes with the ease she’s exhibited since her days on American Idol, but it’s the sheer, gale-force power that she brings to the song that stands out, especially around the 2:35 mark.
Underwood has performed the song on her current Storyteller tour, as well as with Keith Urban and Vince Gill during an All for the Hall benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014, but this spare interpretation stands out as one of her loveliest.