Steven Tyler made some new friends during his two years on American Idol. While sitting beside Jennifer Lopez at the judges table, the Aerosmith singer delved into the worlds of pure pop, country and other genres far outside his usual hard-rock territory. He also found a new singing partner in the form of young country music star Carrie Underwood, whose career was launched as the winner of AI in 2005.
Tyler and Underwood performed a duet this year on a Country Music Television special and rocked Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way” and her hit “Undo It” together at the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards. Since graduating from Idol, Underwood has been awarded a pile of Grammys and platinum records as a country pop singer, but she’s also become a true believer in brand Tyler, even performing a cover of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” on her current tour.
The two singers share another musical connection: frequent Aerosmith collaborator Marti Frederiksen was a co-writer of “Undo It” with Underwood (and former Idol judge Kara DioGuardi). During sessions for Music From Another Dimension!, Tyler and Frederiksen wrote and recorded “Can’t Stop Loving You” with the rest of Aerosmith, and the ballad took on a romantic country flavor. Tyler sang it with an emotional drawl not unlike on the band’s 1993 hit “Cryin’.”
“This was another one like that,” Tyler says of the new song. “I sang it a little country & western. When it was done, it was discussed that I might have sang it a little too country. And all along we thought, should we get someone in?”
It turned out that Underwood was in Los Angeles at just the right moment. “It was last-minute,” Tyler recalls. “She was in town doing something. I called her up and she said, ‘I’m leaving tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘Can you come over tonight?’ I called Joe [Perry] up, and the rest is history. She just did it. It really does work.”