Country musicians have been telling stories of faith for as long as the genre has been alive. Artists like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson paved the way for country artists to share their faith in song. And today, an entirely new generation of country artists are collaborating with some of your favorite Christian artists for overtly faith-based performances.
Here are 10 Christian/Country collaborations you need to hear:
1. “Truth Be Told” by Matthew West & Carly Pearce
@Matthew West reimagined his multi-week chart-topper, “Truth Be Told,” with country vocalist Carly Pearce. The song can be found on West’s recent deluxe edition of his latest album, Brand New. Two-time ACM award-winner Pearce, who recently set the final year of her 20s to music for 29, is known for her vulnerable songwriting, making her a perfect fit for the candid track. The addition of Pearce transforms West’s hit into a stunning duet, which the duo recently performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage together.
2. “There Was Jesus” by Zach Williams & Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton took home her tenth GRAMMY for her collaboration with @Zach Williams on “There Was Jesus,” a highlight of his latest full-length album, Rescue Story. Williams was able to spend nearly four hours in the studio with the country legend herself as she recorded her vocals for the chart-topping hit he co-wrote with Jonathan Smith and Casey Beathard. Parton also appears in the song’s official music video, alongside Williams. Moreover, the expertly paired vocalists performed the popular duet at the 2019 CMA Awards.
3. “Who You Are To Me” by Chris Tomlin & Lady A
@Chris Tomlin took the idea of the Christian/Country collaboration to a whole new level last year when he released Chris Tomlin & Friends, an entire album dedicated to unique collaborations with country artists, as well as We The Kingdom and Bear Rinehart (NEEDTOBREATHE), among others. He wrote and recorded the LP’s lead single, “Who You Are To Me,” with GRAMMY®-winning trio Lady A. The song soon became Tomlin’s tenth No. 1 hit, while Lady A’s @Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood topped the Christian charts for the first time in their career as a group. Previously, Scott earned her first No. 1 at Christian radio with solo offering, “Thy Will.”
4. “Image of God” by We Are Messengers & Vince Gill
@We Are Messengers initially released identity-focused song “Image of God” on their Power+ album, an extended version of their sophomore full-length project, Power. The band then took the timely track to the next level earlier this year by releasing a reimagined version with highly-regarded vocalist and guitarist Vince Gill. “Image of God” continues to resonate with listeners thanks to lyrics that level the playing field between the issues that divide us. “Seven billion voices separate us,” frontman Darren Mulligan sings before Gill chimes in, “but only one can show us who we are.”
5. “God Only Knows” by for KING & COUNTRY & Dolly Parton
“God Only Knows” quickly became one of the biggest hits of @for KING & COUNTRY’s career. When they recorded a version of the song with the incomparable Dolly Parton, the track rocketed into an entirely new stratosphere, earning them a multi-week reign on numerous charts and several additional accolades, including a GRAMMY. The duo’s Joel and Luke Smallbone also performed the smash hit with Parton at the 2019 CMA Awards.
6. “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder & Carrie Underwood
In 2017, country superstar @Carrie Underwood joined @Crowder for a swampy version of “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” at the annual Passion conference in Atlanta, Ga. The singer, who was a surprise guest at the event attended by thousands of college students from around the world, added some signature vocal runs to Crowder’s hit song from his acclaimed album, Neon Steeple. Having previously released a string of her own faith-based tracks, including “Something in the Water,” “Temporary Home” and “Jesus Take the Wheel,” among others, Underwood recently dropped an entire album of hymns that defined her childhood growing up in church in rural Oklahoma. My Savior finds the “American Idol” winner collaborating with Gospel powerhouse @CeCe Winans and @NEEDTOBREATHE’s Bear Rinehart.
7. “God Who Listens” by Chris Tomlin & Thomas Rhett
The second single from Chris Tomlin & Friends, “God Who Listens,” features award-winning singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett. The reigning ACM Male Vocalist of the Year and his wife, Lauren Akins, have been outspoken about their Christian beliefs for years with Lauren even sharing their story of love and faith in her recent memoir, Live in Love: Growing Together Through Life’s Changes. The song finds Tomlin and Thomas Rhett boasting about a God who hears our prayers. “God Who Listens” isn’t the first collaboration between the two songwriters, however. Tomlin joined Reba, Hillary Scott, and Keith Urban for a recording of Thomas Rhett’s hit song, “Be A Light,” in 2020.
8. “Together” by for KING & COUNTRY, Hannah Ellis & Jackson Michelson
After debuting unifying anthem “Together” at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with pop sensation @Tori Kelly and Gospel music hitmaker @Kirk Franklin, @for KING & COUNTRY released several additional remixes of the song, breathing new life into an already smash hit. New country artists Hannah Ellis and Jackson Michelson join the Australian-born brothers on a special version of the song accented with intentional acoustic instrumentation for an unmistakable modern country feel.
9. “I Can Only Imagine,” MercyMe & Trace Adkins
“I Can Only Imagine” is undoubtedly one of the biggest songs in Christian music written over the past two decades. The song, which @MercyMe frontman Bart Millard penned in the wake of his father’s death, was reimagined in 2018 when Lionsgate released a movie that brought the story behind the landmark recording to silver screens nationwide. The film went on to become an immediate box office smash, and to commemorate the blockbuster debut, MercyMe released a joyful pop version of the award-winning ballad. The group performed their new rendition of “I Can Only Imagine” at the 2018 K-LOVE Fan Awards with Trace Adkins, who plays their manager, Scott Brickell, in the film.
10. “Over and Over” by Riley Clemmons & Lauren Alaina
Newcomer @Riley Clemmons invites Lauren Alaina to harmonize with her on a version of her song, “Over and Over.” The two incredible women trade vocals on the track, which speaks to the relentless love of God that keeps giving us chance after second chance. While Clemmons first made her mark in Christian music with her hit song, “Broken Prayers,” Alaina notched her first No. 1 at country radio with “Road Less Traveled,” a powerful anthem of positivity with a strong identity-themed message aimed at young girls. Alaina, who remains a staple on the Opry stage, hosts Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith for the new Circle network.