Country collaborations are not so strangely unfamiliar these days. Many country artists have paired up with fellow country artists to create even more epic music. Not just that, country music is also opening up to widen its horizons by doing crossover collaborations with pop music. That is, more people who are not familiar with country music are getting a glimpse of it. Also, they see how diverse this genre can be as opposed to stereotypes they have most probably heard.
Although some are still not very much into the idea of these types of collaborations, many people are actually enjoying these collaborations. So whether you’re just dipping and trying out, a new fan or an old one, these 10 country collaborations deserve a spot on your playlist.
1. One Too Many – Keith Urban with P!nk
Pink isn’t new to the country music scene. Before this collaboration with Keith Urban last year, she already paired up with Kenny Chesney for Settin’ the World on Fire and featured Chris Stapleton for her song Love You Anyway.
As described by the Rolling Stone, this funky mid-tempo ballad is a song off of Urban’s album The Speed of Now Part 1. This song written by Cleo Tighe, Daniel Davidsen, James Norton, Mich Hansen, and Peter Wallevik, was first performed at the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards last year. It was a powerful performance with Urban and Pink in alternate verses talking about lost nights in a bar and the fights that came after in the morning.
2. Nobody But You – Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani
This honest, romantic, and heartfelt song is the couple’s third collaboration song which was featured in Shelton’s fifth compilation album Fully Loaded: God’s Country. Written by Nashville songwriters Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, and Tommy Lee James, Shelton felt that the lyrics suited his current love story with Stefani.
The song was first revealed in October 2019, but Stefani’s contribution was kept a secret until December, a week before the song was released. It was warmly received by many listeners earning Shelton his 27th number 1 single and Stefani’s first on the country charts.
3. Without You – Luke Combs ft. Amanda Shires
Without You is a love letter written by Combs to all the people who contributed to his journey with Wyatt Durrett and Dan Isbell in North Carolina. In an interview with Radio.com, he wanted to write a song to let everyone know how appreciative he was of them and without them, he wouldn’t be where he is right now. The first verse was dedicated to his parents, second to his wife Nicole Hocking, and third is for his fans.
This song was his lead single from his album What You See Ain’t Always What You Get featuring Amanda Shire, who also played the fiddle on the track. This was their second collaboration after their performance of Beautiful Crazy at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards.
4. Hole in the Bottle – Kelsea Ballerini with Shania Twain
This song was the third single from Ballerini’s third studio album Kelsea. She wrote the song with Jesse Frasure, Hillary Lindsey, Ashley Gorley, and Steph Jones and was two minutes and thirty seconds long of witty, drunken escapism as Ballerini described in one Instagram post.
This was her first-ever drinking song, originally released in February 2020 ahead of her album launch. And in November, she teamed up with her hero Shania Twain for a remix of the song. And just last February, the song earned Ballerini her sixth number 1 single.
5. The Other Girl – Kelsea Ballerini with Halsey
Another song off her Kelsea album is the other girl featuring Halsey. This song was co-written by Ballerini and Halsey, who first became friends in 2018 after the pop singer played in Nashville, alongside Ross Copperman and Shane McAnally.
The song earned recognition in charts breaching the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 95. The two performed the song live on the show CMT Crossroads last year in March. And in an Instagram Live session, Ballerini and Halsey shared the story behind the song. With the many songs about cheating, they decided to tell the same story but with their own twist. That is, this was a woman-to-woman duet which was not about tearing the other woman down.
6. I Hope – Gabby Barrett ft. Charlie Puth
This chart-topping crossover hit was co-written by Gabby Barrett herself, which she independently released after American Idol Season 16. It was a vengeful song for an ex-boyfriend who is now with another woman. The song garnered so much attention and appreciation leading her to sign a deal with Warner Music Nashville.
The song was then released again as her debut single from her debut album Goldmine. After that, Gabby released a remix of the song with Charlie Puth. In the remix, Charlie offers the male perspective which wishes that the two make-up for a not-so-happily ever after. I Hope received numerous nominations and was certified 3x Platinum in Canada and 4x Platinum in the US.
7. God Only Knows – For King & Country with Dolly Parton
No list is ever really complete without Dolly Parton in it. This song was the second single of the Christian alternative rock duo that heavily impacted Christian radio. It also entered the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 94, which was the duo’s first song to reach the chart. The song tackled depression and suicide with an emotionally hopeful approach.
In a tweet, Dolly Parton thanked the duo for letting her join to tell an incredible story about love, faith, and kindness.
8. Why Things Happen – Jimmie Allen ft. Charley Pride & Darius Rucker
Three black country music chart-toppers collaborated for this song which was released six weeks after George Floyd’s death. In an article by The Rolling Stone, this song was more than just an overt protest statement. It was a song that told the anguish and pain of three generations of black men (Allen, 32, Rucker, 54, and Pride, 86).
The song was included in Allen’s album Bettie James. In a Tik Tok video, Allen shared that he penned the song with Carly Barlowe, Tate Howell, and Brandon Day the day after Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash. The song was basically questioning life and things that happen without any understanding.
9. 10,000 Hours – Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber
This song was written by Dan Smyers, Shay Mooney, Julian Perretta, Jason Boyd, and Bieber as the lead single for Dan + Shay’s fourth studio album of the same name. The reaction to the song was really warm and it debuted at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100. Not only that, it also made history by besting Florida Georgia Line’s Cruise as the highest-charting non-holiday country song.
This perfect song was written about their wives with Dan, Shay, and Justin taking turns serenading the leading ladies of their lives. And in the recent 2021 Grammy Awards, the song bagged the Best Country Duo/Group Performance award.
10. Old Town Road – Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Labelled as country rap, this song sparked a heated debate on what really defines country music. Nevertheless, this song definitely made a mark, although not on its initial release. American rapper Lil Nas X first released the song independently in 2018, and when the song gained popularity, it was re-released in 2019 by Columbia Records. During the same year, Lil Nas X recorded a remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.
The song sold over 10 million units in the US and is the second-fastest song to be awarded a diamond certification by the RIAA. It also earned nominations and won awards.
You should definitely listen to these collaboration songs!