Country Throwback: Darius Rucker Covers Randy Travis’ ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’ on CMT Special

by Clayton Edwards

“Forever and Ever. Amen” is one of Randy Travis’ most iconic hits. For many country fans, it’s the first song that comes to mind when Travis’s name comes up in conversation. Very few people can successfully cover that song and do it any justice. Earlier this year, though, Darius Rucker proved he is on that shortlist of artists.

Darius Rucker performed the song from his home as part of “CMT Celebrates Our Heroes” in June. It was a simple arrangement of the song that only featured Rucker and his guitar. As he played and sang, images of mask-wearing couples were projected on the wall behind him. Despite hardships, they all looked happy The lens of the pandemic makes this classic love song hit a little different.

Darius Rucker’s Cover of “Forever and Ever, Amen”

The original arrangement of “Forever and Ever, Amen” features great instrumentation behind Travis’s rich baritone voice. The lonesome steel guitar, twangy telecaster leads, and western bassline help to elevate the song to something really special. While those extras are great, Darius Rucker showed us that they aren’t necessary.

Legendary songwriter Harlan Howard said that all you needed to make a great country song is three chords and the truth. With Darius Rucker’s stripped-down acoustic performance of “Forever and Ever, Amen,” we see just how true that saying is. Mostly, anyway. Rucker uses five chords but the result is the same. He combines a simple chord progression with the truth of deep and abiding love to create more than a cover. It’s a timely recreation of a classic love song.

It isn’t just the lyrics and stripped-down arrangement that make this performance work so well. Darius Rucker’s voice matches Randy Travis’s pretty well and the amount of soul that he injects into the performance is spectacular. His face says that he has someone in mind while he croons the classic love song. He flashes a few quick smiles to the camera as he performs. The joy he obviously feels while singing this song embodies the spirit of that undying love in the lyrics.

The projected images add another layer to Darius Rucker’s performance. It’s another layer of truth. It shows that love can still spark and flourish even in 2020. Some of the photos are of mask-sporting newlyweds. It’s a simple yet beautiful way to show that the human spirit as well as its desire to love is still strong.