Since the beginning of music, genres, artists, and musical geniuses have been collaborating, mixing, and fusing music together to break down boundaries and borders. Musical evolution is nonstop. Country artists have crossed back and forth between different genres in the past and some of country music’s finest team up with unlikely matches to create a new sound. PPcorn has complied a list of some of our favorite country collaborations over the years.
“Just A Fool” was originally intended for Pink, but the final cut saw the powerful, knife-like vocals of Christina Aguilera blend with the tone of Blake Shelton’s country drawl for Aguilera’s 2012 album Lotus. The two quickly became friends after being judges together on NBC’s The Voice and recording a song just seemed to be the next step in their friendship. Although the song did not perform as well on the charts as predicted, “Just A Fool” has become a fan favorite for both Shelton and Aguilera.
“Because Of You” made its way to the top ten on multiple charts all over the world in 2005 for Kelly Clarkson, long before Reba McEntire approached Clarkson about creating a new version of the song for her 2007 album Duets. Complementing each other’s voices, “Because Of You” peaked at number two on the country charts and sparked the 2 Worlds, 2 Voices tour in 2008. The tour was a North American co-headline of McEntire and Clarkson performing the entire set-list together. Praises went to both artists for adding a little something new to each others song. Clarkson brought some heavy vocals to McEntire’s set and McEntire added a little twang to Clarkson’s set.
“Over And Over” soared to number one in 2004 in several different countries. Country was shocked when Tim McGraw teamed up with rap artist Nelly on the track. The song is off of Nelly’s fourth studio album Suit. The pop-country collaboration didn’t stop the two from having great commercial success with the song and receiving a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.
“Portland, Oregon” is a duet from Loretta Lynn’s highly acclaimed 2004 album Van Lear Rose featuring the vocals of Jack White of the White Stripes. Though the entire project was a collaboration of Lynn and White creating momentous music for Lynn’s career, “Portland, Oregon” won a Grammy for “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals” in 2005. Lynn has been praised as a country music genius by critics for the album, earning Lynn multiple five-star reviews, and adoring reviews, however, she always compliments the musical talents of White for helping her develop Van Lear Rose.
“Cruise” was a successful song for Florida-Georgia Line off of their 2012 release Here’s to the Good Times before the country duo paired with Nelly to create the mega-hit “Cruise (Remix)“. No stranger to country collaborations Nelly infused the song with his own personal musical styling. The pairing released the single to iTunes in April of 2013, the remix has since been certified eight times platinum by the RIAA for selling over seven million units. The single currently holds the title as the “Best-selling country song in the US”.
“Marry Me” was written by Pat Monahan lead vocalist of the group Train. It was released on their fifth studio album Save Me, San Francisco in 2010. After joining forces with Martina McBride on CMT’s Crossroads in 2010 it came as no shock when Monahan surfaced on McBride’s eleventh studio album Eleven in 2011 as a guest vocalist on her version of “Marry Me”. The two artists had get chemistry on stage and in the studio, but the single failed to gain as much success as the original version only peaking at 45 on the country charts.
“Easy” is a song written by on of country music’s most underrated singer/songwriters, Katrina Elam and Mike Mobley. It was recorded by Rascal Flatts as a duet with pop singer Natasha Bedingfield for their 2011 album Nothing Like This. The pairing had some success with the song, it has since been certified platinum for selling over one million units. It performed well on the charts and has been counted as one of Rascal Flatts five Adult Contemporary hits.
“Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)” was released in 1991 by Brit-pop band KLF. The song is a collaboration with country music icon, Tammy Wynette. Wynette already a pioneer in country music with a string of mega hits was apprehensive to the original suggestion, but later was very happy with the pairing and the final product. Though often referred to one of the strangest pairings in country music, it stands true that music often has no boundaries. Peaking at number one on various charts as well as breaking into the top five all over the world, “Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)” was a commercial success. The song can be found on KLF’s 1991 album, The White Room.
Producers, songwriters, singers, and artists often collaborate with each other to share their gift of music, and genre shows no borders when two or more musical geniuses collide. I look forward to future duets and musical events by artists from different ends of the musical spectrum.