The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop country music from creating epic collaborations. Although 2020 was spent in quarantine, these artists created memorable tracks that were stuck in our heads all year long.
‘One Beer’ – HARDY, Lauren Alaina, and Devin Dawson
Hardy teamed up with frequent collaborator Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina for an epic tale. “One Beer” tells the story of how one beer can lead to a pregnancy and shotgun marriage which led to a family. This marks Hardy’s first No. 1 as an artist. The song reached the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart and Mediabase charts.
HARDY initially sent the song to his publisher to be cut by another artist. His team suggested that he should cut it and he agreed. “I don’t know who brought that up first, but I love doing weird stuff like that – that’s my jam, Hady told Song Facts. “So, as soon as somebody was like, ‘K-I-S-S-I-N-G,’ I remembered, ‘Yeah, then there’s more after that – there’s like first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage,’ so we looked it up to make sure I was right and we just ran with it.”
“I wanted to sing the verses and kind of be the storyteller,” Hardy explained to Radio.com. “And I wanted a couple. I know that Lauren and Devin aren’t a couple, but I wanted a male and female voice to sing the chorus to kind of represent the two people that the song is about.”
‘One Too Many’ – Keith Urban and Pink
Keith Urban and Pink teamed up for an epic duet, “One Too Many.” The song is off of Urban’s The Speed of Sound Part 1 record. Due to the pandemic, their debut performance of the song at the 2020 ACM Awards was done virtually. Urban recently revealed that Pink recorded a special video of her verses for his upcoming tour.
“I can’t label what the song is,” Urban said in an interview with Variety. “It’s not country. It’s just a great song, about a very universal situation.” The situation in the song is two people realizing that they’re better off drinking together rather than being alone.
‘Happy Anywhere’ – Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani debuted a quarantine-inspired song. Ross Copperman, Josh Osborne and Matt Jenkins co-wrote the tune. This follows the couple’s previous duet, “Nobody But You.” The song reached No. 48 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
“We’ve all been in quarantine and lockdown, and hopefully we’ve been doing that with somebody that we really love and enjoy being around,” Shelton told the Today Show. “That’s what happened with Gwen and me this summer – and this entire year.”
‘Under The Mistletoe’ – Brett Eldredge and Kelly Clarkson
Believe it or not, Brett Eldredge and Kelly Clarkson met in person after they recorded their Christmas duet. During a recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the pair revealed that they recorded their parts separately and met for the first time on Clarkson’s show. The pair have since performed their duet on NBC’s The Voice.
The music video is an animated video that depicts Clarkson and Eldredge partaking in holiday traditions. Eldredge told Sounds Like Nashville that he “would have walked to Los Angeles to sing this song if she asked me to.” He added, “I was so blown away at the opportunity that I knew I had to bring everything I had. She is an incredible singer and even better person. She’s got it all, and so does this song.”
As for Clarkson, she co-wrote the song and wanted it to have a “classic, throwback vibe.” “Brett is such an amazing singer and I was so impressed by his classic sound on his Christmas record, so it was a perfect match for picking a duet partner for ‘Under the Mistletoe,’” Clarkson said in a press release.
‘Hallelujah’ – Carrie Underwood and John Legend
Although John Legend is not a country artist, he teamed up with Miss. Carrie Underwood for an absolutely stunning Christmas duet. Legend heard that Underwood was recording a Christmas album and sent her the song. Underwood asked if he would sing on the track and he obliged. It was like, ‘Well, I love the song. I feel like this is a puzzle piece I didn’t know was missing, but now that I’ve heard it, I have to have it,’” she recalled.
“I love this song because I feel like it encompasses so much about Christmas,” Underwood said of the song. “You have this love aspect of it, it just feels like Christmas, it just makes you smile, and to say ‘Hallelujah’ is just beautiful.” The pair performed the song during Underwood’s HBO Max Christmas special and during the Global Citizens award ceremony.
‘This Is Us’ – Jimmie Allen and Noah Cyrus
Jimmie Allen teamed up with Noah Cyrus for “This Is Us.” The two met backstage at Stagecoach in 2019. The song explores a new love that questions why they weren’t together before their past heartbreaks. Noah co-wrote the song alongside Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, Jordan Schmidt, Ilsey Juber and Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II. The song was sent to Allen’s team and he was added to the song. “I think it’s a great song, and when I heard it, I was honored that they’d even let me sing on it,” Allen told The Boot.
During their 2020 CMT Music Awards, Cyrus’ nude rhinestoned leotard turned heads. Allen defended her wardrobe choice. “So many people just want to focus on the song and that’s great when it’s just a recording, and some people just want to focus on the show, but part of the show is everything,” he told PopCulture. “Fashion is a big part of it. And it’s funny how people will talk about a jacket I wore, and Noah wearing this and this, compared to old school country.” He added that back in the 1950s, artists wore nudie suits with rhinestones regularly.
‘Without You’ – Luke Combs and Amanda Shires
Luke Combs teamed up with Amanda Shires on violin for a breathtaking new version of “Without You.” The song is a bonus track off of his album, What You See Ain’t Always What You Get. Shires revealed to Rolling Stone how the collaboration came about.
“He’s just a really cool guy and he said, ‘I would love it if you would come play on this.’ And I said, ‘OK,’” Shires tells Rolling Stone. “Then we were hanging out playing. I went into the studio alone, because of Covid, with my mask and my gloves, and I put down those fiddle parts. I really, really like how that track came out.”
“‘Without You’ is a song that I wrote probably a year and a half ago in the mountains of North Carolina with Wyatt Durrette and Dan Isbell,” Combs recalled in a press release. “I just really wanted to, along with ‘This One’s For You,’ is always have that song that lets everyone know how appreciative I am of where I am. The first verse is about my parents, and second verse is about my wife, and the third verse is about you, the fans, so just wanted to thank everybody that I feel like has helped me get to this point.
‘Hole In The Bottle’ – Kelsea Balleirni and Shania Twain
Kelsea Ballerini’s dream came true with a Shania Twain collab. Ballerini came up with the idea for a duet when she was filming the music video. The video featured numerous fashion ensembles that paid homage to Twain’s career.
“When she sent me the song, I thought, ‘Yeah, this is a hit song, and thank you for thinking of me,” Twain said in an interview with People. “And I’m privileged to be a part of it.’ That’s how I felt.”
Furthermore, their brainstorming session came about when Ballerini got an email from her asking to do something together. “I was just honored that she even thought of me, you know?” Ballerini told Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music. And we just kind of went back and forth on a couple other ideas, and some songs, we’re just sending each other a ton of stuff.”
Ballerini then realized she had her single that they could work on. “What if she just added to the fire?” she continued. “But I was listening to all of these harmonies, and her ad-libs… every single thing that she sent me just going, ‘You know who you are, and what you contribute, and what you’re great at, and what makes you an icon.’ “
‘Why Things Happen’ – Jimmie Allen, Charley Pride and Darius Rucker
Jimmie Allen’s collaborative Bettie James EP features a standout hit, “Why Things Happen” featuring the late Charley Pride and Darius Rucker. The song is undeniably one of the more memorable songs in country music that concerns the meaning of life and death. Moreover, Allen was inspired to write the song after the deaths of his grandmother, father, and Kobe Bryant.
According to Taste of Country, he co-wrote the song with Tate Howell, plus Cary Barlow and Brandon Day on January 27, 2020, the day after Bryant’s death. Altogether, the song examines why terrible tragedies like heartwrenching deaths, happen.
“It was important to me to get Darius Rucker and Charley Pride on there, because those are two guys I’ve looked up to musically for so many years,” Allen told Songwriter Universe. “You know, being black and looking like me, and [the three of us] being in genres where you don’t see too many black people. Darius was in Hootie & the Blowfish, and now he’s one of the biggest country stars out there. And Charley Pride was the first big black country artist.”
‘Mean Something’ – Caylee Hammack, Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes
Caylee Hammack’s single “Mean Something” is the definition of girl power, featuring Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes. All together, the trio blend their unique vocals that creates a
Furthermore, the women have been close friends over the past couple of years. They regularly have jam sessions together. “We do this thing together every week, us three, we get drunk and sing covers together on my back porch,” Hammack told Off The Record. “I have big old chairs from Goodwill. It has been such a soul reviving therapy session for me every week to be around these women, because any time something happens and I feel defeated, I call one of them.”