Submitted by Don Graham
Country music needs some savin’. The road has been bumpy with resistance to some of the changes in song content and presentation. Some of the discontent is justified as a lot more emphasis seems to be placed on how much revenue a song can generate as opposed to how the song can reach and touch people. But country music is strong and has a rich history and background to draw on. So with the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards coming in November some of the biggest acts in country music have joined together and filmed a remarkable and memorable video – ‘Forever Country’.
Shane McAnally, a CMA winner as well as a board member, produced the video and confessed that the mashing together of several country music’s classics was ‘a very scary process’.“The first conversation I remember having about the CMA project was at a CMA board meeting when everyone was just sort of brainstorming about an interesting, unique way that might bring light to the 50th Anniversary,” he explained.“I didn’t think it would work in our genre. 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 judging by the final result that fear was unfounded. The video is a remarkable piece of work.
The song features 30 artists from different generations of country music, then and now and is a crisp salute to the genre through the years. Three songs that you would never think of in a medley format, John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’,Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ and the Willie Nelson classic ‘On the Road Again’are masterfully combined in a musical collage.
Legends like Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire make appearances as do contemporary stars like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan. Groups are represented by Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum and Alabama. Randy Travis gets in on the celebration by making a special non-singing appearance. Travis is still recovering from the stroke he suffered in 2013.