In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards, CMA award winner and board member Shane McAnally was tasked with producing and recording an ambitious new song with 30 of country music’s biggest artists.
Speaking with People, McAnally said he was faced with the “very scary process” of combining three legendary country songs into one piece of music. The songs included “Country Roads, Take Me Home” by John Denver, “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton, and “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson.
“I didn’t think it would work out in our genre,” said McAnally, who has worked with the likes of Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. “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.”
“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 recalled. “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!”
With some hard work, McAnally was able to produce one epic country mash-up titled, “Forever Country”, with recording artists including, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, and many more.
While the song made its premiere on country radio stations on Friday, the official video, directed by award-winning filmmaker Joseph Kahn, the genius behind Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”, “Wildest Dreams”, and “Blank Space”, will be released on Tuesday. Profits from sales and streaming of the song will also go toward music education charities backed by the CMA Foundation.
“Good Morning America” got an exclusive look at the making of the video. Check it out below.