Do you like behind-the-scenes stuff? Then you’re going to love this.
By now, you’ve surely heard of “Forever Country,” the song made in honor of the CMA Awards 50th anniversary this year. In this song and accompanying video, 30 country music stars banded together to sing a mashup of John Denver’s “Take Me Home,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”
Along with producer Shane McAnally and film director Joseph Kahn, the team made a music video that has amasses more than 5.5 million views on YouTube.
“I’m from Houston, so I grew up with country music,” Kahn told Los Angeles Times recently. “I’ve actually done a few country videos. One of my earliest videos was for Willie. That was 23 years ago, for a song called ‘Afraid.’ So it’s a world I’m familiar with.”
The video features Luke Bryan, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Eric Church, Braid Paisley, and many more.
Carrie Underwood, in a behind-the-scenes clip about the making of the video, wasn’t so sure about the idea at first.
“When I kind of first heard the idea of them mashing up ‘I Will Always Love You,’ ‘Take Me Home Country Road’ and ‘On the Road Again,’ I was like ‘How’s that gonna work?’ because they’re three very different songs by three very different artists,” says Underwood. “I’m honored to be a part of it and to be singing parts on ‘I Will Always Love You,” which I actually do in my tour set, so it’s perfect.”
“It’s just one of those special times in the history of our music and what we do that we don’t want to not be a part of,” McGraw chimes in.
“Fortunately, I’m humble,” Willie Nelson laughs. “No — it’s a great honor and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
“I’ve played in many, many times,” Keith Urban says about playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” “As geographical as the song is in so many places, it’s also incredibly universal. That’s why songs like that transcend everything because it’s about home and very universal things.”
How in the world did they choose the artists for this video? I mean, what a big decision!
“It started with previous CMA winners,” said McAnally. “Which helped to at least narrow it down. We said we’re going to do a mashup like ‘We Are the World,’ and people were like ‘What?’ After Dolly and George Strait agreed to do it, it felt like everyone took a step back and were like, ‘Wait, what is this?’ Then we were able to put all of those asks out to the stars. You had to be available twice. One to sing. One to shoot the video. And it was in the summertime when they are all touring heavily.
“So I think we got very lucky. It was an act of God. They shot the video during CMA Fest so the artists were just running through. I think we were very lucky. There were just a handful of people who we just couldn’t get their schedules to work.”