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Certain country singers aren’t the least bit shy when it comes to sharing their opinions of modern country music. Sometimes, their opinions take form in song.
One such song is “Murder on Music Row,” which was written by Larry Cordle and Larry Shell. The song was recorded by Cordle’s bluegrass group Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, and was released in 1999.
The “murder” described in the song is the “murder” of traditional country music. Through the lyrics, the narrators reflect on how the “almighty dollar” drove country artists to abandon tradition in exchange for whatever sound or style would make them the most money.
This song certainly doesn’t mince words, as it blatantly calls out those who adopted “drums and rock ‘n roll guitars” and abandoned the fiddles and steel guitars. It goes on to add that even someone as successful as Hank Williams “wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio.”
“Murder on Music Row” earned additional recognition in 2000 when it was recorded as a duet between George Strait and Alan Jackson. Their version of the song was never released as a single, but was such a hit with those who heard it that it still managed to chart at the 38th spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
In the years since then, Strait and Jackson have reunited at several concerts and live events, and “Murder on Music Row” is always their go-to song. That one definitely gets the fans riled up whenever they hear it!
But we bet you didn’t know that “Murder on Music Row” was later recorded by another country legend…George Jones. Jones’ rendition came about in 2006, and he also invited a duet partner to join him on the song.
You may be surprised to hear this, but Jones chose a much more “modern” star as his duet partner. That star was none other than Dierks Bentley.
Bentley recorded the song with Jones as part of a Songs of the Year album available in Cracker Barrel restaurants. In other words, it was a pretty exclusive track that only a few people heard. That is, until now.
The blend of old and new voices brought an interesting dynamic to the song that’s unlike any other version you’ve heard before. Go ahead and check it out in the clip below!
What do y’all think of Jones and Bentley’s duet?
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