Getting 30 people to agree to do anything together is a feat in itself, but convincing 30 individual acts (so, actually around 45 people) to agree to sing three songs and appear in a video for the three songs is one magnificent accomplishment.
“Forever Country” is a mash-up of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton. The songs were masterfully put together by Shane McAnally, though more than one artists was skeptical it would actually work.
“There’s no way these songs are going to work together,” Blake Shelton revealed in a behind-the-scenes clip.
The video was directed by Joseph Kahn, and he actually gave McAnally the idea for the mashup. The two shared how it all came together during a recent private viewing of the video, “He proposed the idea of a mashup. We felt pretty strongly about not messing with any of the stories of country music. How do you chop up a country song that tells these stories? Every line matters,” McAnally said.
“All the harmonies and chords fit together so well and it actually told a story and had a great emotional payoff,” Kahn said after the viewing to a room full of industry insiders which also included Karen Fairchild and Randy Travis. “It was basically a movie he wrote and I had to put visuals to it.”
The video was shot over three days in Nashville against a green screen. Reba builds the Ryman Auditorium, Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood take the stage at the CMA Awards and in the end, all 30 artists end up together in a field full of country music dreams as Dolly Parton sings the last line of her iconic, “I Will Always Love You.”
The 50th Annual CMA Awards will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 2(8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network.