Music News

‘Forever Country’: Story behind country music’s epic mashup | EW.com

The story behind country music’s epic mashup, ‘Forever Country’

Posted September 16 2016 — 8:59 AM EDT

Shane McAnally was nothing short of terrified when he stepped into the studio to begin a project that, on paper, looked a little crazy.The challenge of melding three iconic country song – John Denver’s “Country Roads, Take Me Home,” Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” – into one new piece of music to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards, was “a very scary process,” McAnally tells PEOPLE.In fact, when a mash-up was first proposed as a way of marking the anniversary, McAnally, who’s written hit songs for Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Kacey Musgraves among others, argued against it. “I didn’t think it would work in our genre,” he says. “I said, ‘Maybe in pop music you can just take a piece of a song, but we tell stories. And we can’t just cut into them and take a piece.’”But as McAnally, a CMA board member as well as a top producer in town (he’s behind albums by Sam Hunt and Musgraves), and other CMA members began to consider what songs could work, the idea took shape.“I Will Always Love You” was a song that everyone felt like needed to be a part of it but I was having a hard time with the story – it’s such a personal song. It’s to one person,” he says. “But when you play that song over, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’, they somehow take on a life together and it feels almost like you’re speaking more to the music, and to country music specifically, when you say, ‘I will always love you.’ It feels meant to be.”An ode to the life of a traveling musician, Nelson’s classic seemed a natural addition to the mix. “The line ‘The life I love is making music with my friends,’ kept coming into my mind and ‘On the Road Again’ felt essential,” McAnally says.The result, dubbed “Forever Country,” was born and McAnally took on the task of producing the recording, a monumental undertaking with 30 artists, including one whom he especially wanted to impress.“I was very scared when Dolly heard it that it might seem like a bit of a compromise to the integrity of the original song,” he says. “The song is such a simple, perfect sentiment. It was really important for her to know we handled it with care. She just listened and said, ‘Wow. That really works!’ It was really hard not to cry in front of her. I’ve cried a lot since then!”The tune begins with West Virginia native Brad Paisley singing the opening lines of “Country Roads” (“Almost heaven, West Virginia) followed by a host of stars – Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Shelton”, George Strait – adding line after line until Musgraves begins “I Will Always Love You” (“If I should stay/I Would only be in your way”). Lyrics from the two songs weave in and out with different Nashville voices as Jason Aldean begins “On the Road Again,” joined by Rascal Flatts and many more.The song premiered on country radio stations around the country Friday, but you’ll have to wait ‘til Tuesday for the video, directed by Joseph Kahn, who won a VMA Award for Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”.“The responsibility of this feels greater than anything I’ve done,” McAnally says of the project. “I hope this is a great timepiece for the legacy of country music.”Profits from the sales and streaming of “Forever Country” will go toward music education causes supported by the CMA Foundation.

Source: ‘Forever Country’: Story behind country music’s epic mashup | EW.com


This Day in Country Music – September 19th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2015, A “CMT Crossroads” episode pairing Sara Evans and REO Speedwagon premieres
  • 2003, One week after his death, Johnny Cash wins three trophies at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville
  • 1998, Eddie Rabbitt, Kent Robbins (“Straight Tequila Night”) and Merle Kilgore (“Ring Of Fire”) are inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville
  • 1981, Mickey Gilley’s remake of “You Don’t Know Me” hits #1 on the Billboard country chart

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 18th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2010, Billy Currington rises to the top of the Billboard country singles chart with “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer”
  • 2006, Willie and Bobbie Nelson receive misdemeanor citations for drug possession when his bus is stopped on Interstate 10 near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. A search of the vehicle yielded 1.5 pounds of marijuana and 2/10 of a pound of mushrooms
  • 2004, Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” takes top honors in the CMT special “40 Greatest Done Me Wrong Songs”
  • 1995, Tae Dye is born in Ada, Oklahoma. She becomes one-half of Maddie & Tae, earning hits with their snarky 2014 debut, “Girl In A Country Song,” and their inspirational follow-up single, “Fly”

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 17th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2014, Lee Ann Womack shoots an installment of “CMT Crossroads” with John Legend at The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee. Among their collaborations are “The Way I’m Livin’,” “I May Hate Myself In The Morning” and “I Hope You Dance”
  • 2011, Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” written by Eric Paslay, ascends to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart
  • 2009, Buddy Miller wins four times during the Americana Music Association Awards & Honors at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville
  • 1998, The Country Music Hall of Fame unveils a bronze statue of the late Hank Williams on the 75th anniversary of the singer’s birth. At the ceremony are his children, Hank Williams Jr. and Jett Williams, who meet for the first time

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 16th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2008, Capitol releases Darius Rucker’s first country album, “Learn To Live”
  • 2004, Keith Urban’s “Days Go By” video premieres on CMT
  • 1991, Willie Nelson marries Annie D’Angelo at St. Alouin Church in Nashville
  • 1967, David Houston & Tammy Wynette share the #1 slot on the Billboard country chart with “My Elusive Dreams”

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 15th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2010, Mercury releases the two-disc Jamey Johnson album “The Guitar Song”
  • 1992, Atlantic releases John Michael Montgomery’s first single, “Life’s A Dance”
  • 1976, Waylon Jennings garners six nominations and Willie Nelson picks up five as the Country Music Association announces the finalists for its annual awards in Nashville
  • 1959, John Berry is born in Aiken, South Carolina. The strong-voiced singer rises in 1994 with his Grammy-nominated “Your Love Amazes Me,” following up with such melodic hits as “You And Only You,” “She’s Taken A Shine” and “What’s In It For Me”

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 14th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2014, Luke Bryan becomes the first country artist to headline at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, joined on the bill by Lee Brice and Cole Swindell
  • 2010, Mercury releases the two-disc Jamey Johnson album “The Guitar Song”
  • 2004, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride each receive double nominations for the American Music Awards
  • 1992, Atlantic releases John Michael Montgomery’s first single, “Life’s A Dance”

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 13th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2011, The Band Perry picks up a triple-platinum single award for “If I Die Young”
  • 2009, Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” wins Best Female Video during the MTV Video Music Awards. Rapper Kanye West interrupts her acceptance speech at New York’s Radio City Music Hall to insist that Beyonce should have won
  • 1996, LeAnn Rimes sings “Blue” in her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, along with “I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
  • 1975, Guitarist Joe Don Rooney is born in Baxter Springs, Kansas. He joins Rascal Flatts, whose infectious debut single “Prayin’ For Daylight” sets the band on a path to six straight Vocal Group of the Year honors from the Country Music Association

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 12th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2008, Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” video debuts on CMT
  • 2007, Brad Paisley grinds out a gold album for “5th Gear”
  • 2003, Johnny Cash dies at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital of complications from diabetes, four months after the death of his wife, June Carter. The Man In Black was a member of both the Country Music and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame
  • 1990, Alan Jackson collects his first gold album, for “Here In The Real World”

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


This Day in Country Music – September 11th

Read the Latest Country Music News on CMT.com. Check out what happened on This Day in Country Music

  • 2012, Capitol releases Little Big Town’s album “Tornado”
  • 2004, Terri Clark reaches #1 on the Billboard country chart with “Girls Lie Too”
  • 1999, Chely Wright goes to #1 on the Billboard country singles chart with a song written by Carolyn Dawn Johnson, “Single White Female”
  • 1989, Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” debuts as “All my rowdy friends are here on Monday night” to promote ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football. The New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins, 27-24

Source: CMT : Country Music News : This Day in Country Music


« Previous PageNext Page »