In September of 2016, 30 iconic country artists came together for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to honor the CMA Awards’ 50th year by taking part in the epic “Forever Country” mashup.
“Forever Country” combines three legendary country hits: “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton.
Coined “Artists of Then, Now & Forever,” the voices that harmonized to create such a beautiful track included Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Ronnie Milsap, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Randy Travis, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Trisha Yearwood.
“The artists who stepped up to participate in this one-of-a-kind project span all five decades of the CMA Awards,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, shared with ABC News. “They represent the heart of this song, the strength of our relationship with the fans, and the future of Country Music.”
The artists featured on the song were grateful to be a part of such a huge project. Luke Bryan shared his excitement over “Forever Country,” saying, “They did a great job at putting the songs together and they made ’em all mean something separately, but then they blended ’em to where it’s pretty incredible hearing how it turned out.”
Although the mashup was undeniably a hit, top producer, writer and CMA board member Shane McAnally was hesitant in the beginning to take on such an intricate project.
“I didn’t think it would work in our genre,” he explained in an interview with People. “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.’”
Despite his initial doubts, McAnally was able to push through and create a masterpiece that exceeded all expectations.
“The responsibility of this feels greater than anything I’ve done,” McAnally added. “I hope this is a great timepiece for the legacy of country music.”
All profits from the hit collaboration directly supported music education by the CMA Foundation.
Click above to re-live the magic of “Forever Country.”