Create A Super Group

highwaymenIn 1985, four country music rebels/icons came together to form a larger-than-life group that people wouldn’t have even dared dream about before their actual union. Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson formed the country super group, The Highwaymen. The four highly revered friends recorded three albums worth of material, much to the delight of the astonished public. While all of the members were extremely successful in their own rights, their potential egos were set aside to make music as a cohesive unit. They sounded like a polished group, not just some people thrown together as a marketing gimmick.

Then, in 1988, the rock world hit the jackpot when superstars George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne formed The Traveling Wilburys. Again, these immensely famous, talented and respected people formed a super group that still seems too good to be true to this day. Their unbelievable union created two albums that were repackaged in 2007 with bonus material, which sold surprisingly well for a reissue. Like The Highwaymen, their voices blended amazingly well together as if they were meant to be a group.

Dolly Parton has been a part of two dynamic trios: one with Linda Rhonstadt and Emmylou Harris and the other with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Both trios consisted of women equally as talented as the super groups previously discussed, which also provided us with excellent albums as a result.

And of course, anyone who has read anything that I’ve written in the past year or so should instinctively know that my pet super group is The Notorious Cherry Bombs, which was comprised of Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Brown, Hank Devito, Richard Bennett, Michael Rhodes, John Hobbs and Eddie Bayers.

As I think of the competitive climate of the music industry today, I’m discouraged to think that such super groups would be next to impossible to unite anymore. Record label disputes prevented Tracy Lawrence’s collaboration with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw to be officially released to radio. Likewise, Reba McEntire had to replace Kenny Chesney’s vocals with lesser known artist, Skip Ewing, in order to release “Every Other Weekend” to radio. And these were only disputes over single songs, not even an entire album.

In true essay style form: Without considering record company politics, if you were able to create your own super group who could make at least one album, who would be the members? What would you name the group? Explain.

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22 Responses to Create A Super Group

  1. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Great topic Leeann…Ok, perhaps maybe not in formal essay from, but just throwing some thoughts together, if I had to throw together a superband at a moments notice, no surprise I would want to form a Mountain Country band…with a strong four part harmony lead in the style of Little Big Town, only I would choose as lead vocalists Patty Loveless, Sara Evans, Travis Tritt, and Vince Gill…I think they all have that Mountain timbre thing going on. And as this would be a Mountain Rock band, I would choose Vince Gill and Brad Paisley on dueling lead guitars, and Emory Gordy Jr on Bass, Al Perkins on Steel, (since Don Helms is no longer with us) Pete Finney on Dobro, (the mix of acoustic and electric would be in the Loveless-Gordy Mountain Rock style..) I would also choose Paisely’s fiddle player Justin, and Patty’s fiddle player Deannie Richardson for twin fiddle effect. Brad Paisley’s banjo player as well, forgot his name but he’s great. Ricky Skaggs or Marty Stuart on mandolin, they just dont get any better…

    And on drums, (the Mountain Rock thing again, not pure Bluegrass by any means) Ben Caesar and or Martin Parker.

    This assembly obviously draws from a lot of my favorites, but I believe it is also an outstanding sampling of some of the best in the businness, and has the potential to be a great blending for a Mountain style supergroup.

    Aint it fun to dream?

  2. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    Oh, the name? Maybe “The Mountain Country Rockers” or something like that.

  3. Maybe super-duos too?

    Lee Ann Womack and Jamey Johnson (As evidenced by the George Strait tribute) would be awesome. I have no idea what the duo name would be though…

    I think Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood and Reba would be a very interesting trio as well. They have very distinct voices, but very expressive voices.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Chris, the only reason I didn’t do super duos is that we’ve covered dream duets here a few times and you guys just did that topic over on your blog.:)

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  6. I like Chris’s suggestion of a Reba, Trisha Yearwood, and Patty Loveless supergroup. All three are distinctive singers and would blend together beautifully IMO. Trisha and Reba have sang together in the past, and their collaboration on Reba’s Duets is magic.

  7. EmmyNo Gravatar

    First, the Traveling Wilburys were awesome. The Highwaymen were also, but I think the Wilburys get much less credit.
    I think people need really distinctive voices to sing together as a supergroup. With the Wilburys or Highwaymen, there was never any doubt of who was signing (but they all still sounded good together). Some country singers today would get lost in a group.
    That said, Leeann Rimes needs a change of pace…put her with Trace Adkins and let Jason Aldean add some vocals. That would be an interesting sound.

  8. I’ll also add that a ‘dream duo’ for me would be Reba and Ronnie Dunn. They are two of the best vocalists in country music right now and every time they’ve sang together has been awesome. They did a live version of ‘You Don’t Know Me’ on their 1998 tour that blew everybody away.

  9. William WardNo Gravatar

    If I could create a super group I’d lean towards creating a full group and concentrate on trying to cover all your major instruments well, along with of course having quality singers. My lineup would include Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, Alison Krauss on fiddle, and Vince Gill and Darryl Scott jumping around on a number of instruments. Patty Loveless would be lead vocals, though the group would most likely have everyone on lead at some point.

    Here is my line-up:
    Patty Loveless
    Vince Gill
    Darryl Scott
    Ricky Skaggs
    Alison Krauss

    I’d name the group ‘The Rabble-Rousers’ specifically because they are not (well, maybe Vince).

  10. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    William, that is a group I’d pay to see at the drop of a hat, no doubt about it! ;)

  11. MarkNo Gravatar

    I am gald you mentioned Trio.
    On occasion I think about have another trio similiar to Dolly, Linda and Emmylou.

    Soemthing like:
    Allison Krauss
    Patty Loveless
    Martina Mcbride

    or from the early 2000’s:
    Elizabeth Cook
    Kasey Chambers
    Sara Evans

    For recent artists maybe:
    Ashley Monroe
    Ashton Shepherd
    Miranda Lambert

  12. William, you just one this discussion with that group. Wow.

  13. Steve HarveyNo Gravatar

    THE SYNCOPATORS

    Gary Allan – Rhythm guitar and vocals
    A strong rhythm player and one of the finest lead vocalists in the genre today.

    Keith Urban – Lead guitar and vocals
    A phenomenal lead guitarist who can play as much or little as is required, as well as being a fantastic singer.

    Jim Lauderdale – Acoustic guitar and vocals
    Lauderdale has played acoustic guitar backing up such luminaries as Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams. Lauderdale is also a wonderful vocalist, with a distinctive vocal signature that blends beautifully with anyone he sings with. He would also provide the songs.

    Willie Weeks – Bass guitar
    One of the most in-demand live and session bass players, with a resume that includes BB King, Vince Gill and David Bowie – versatile, impeccable and always worth listening to.

    Jim Keltner – Drums
    The King. Has played with everyone from Roy Orbison to Lucinda Williams.

    CJ Udeen – Pedal Steel
    A soulful live player who has spent the last few years on the road with Gary Allan, before which he was a member of the group Molly & The Heymakers.

    Megan Mullins – Fiddle/Harmony Vocals
    An energetic, electrifying fiddle player with a great voice for harmonies.

    Chuck Leavall – Keyboards
    Sure, he’s currently playing with the Stones, but I’m sure he’d give them the shaft to go work with Jim Lauderdale.

  14. Michael CuranNo Gravatar

    there’s this new supergroup called Monsters of Folk consist of Connor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, M.Ward, and Jim Jmaes of My Morning Jacket.

    in mainstream country i would like to see Keith Urban(guitars), Alan Jackson (vocals/songwriting), Taylor Swift(vocals/songwriting/rhythm guitars), Jamey Johnson(vocals/guitars), Sheryl Crow (bass/vocals), and Billy Bob Thornton as their drummer together in a band

  15. Pingback: Country Music Blog – The Hit List » Blog Archive » What Would Your Country Supergroup Look Like?

  16. MikeNo Gravatar

    CST…Country Standard Time

    Members-
    Lead Male Vocalist-George Strait
    The King of country music stands out with great vocals that can work almost any kind of country song, and work them like almost no one else can.

    Vocals-Josh Turner
    A great voice that provides and un-mistakable, lovely deep bass sound that can both blend in or stand out when called upon.

    Vocals-Randy Houser
    The young sound of Ronnie Dunn set aside for a second, this young country singer carriers power and soul in his voice that can carry the song up to the next level in range and power.

    Lead Female Vocalist-Sara Evans
    This lady can produce powerful notes in a wide range. The music she sings provides us with a good voice that is just fit to play lead on almost any song because of it’s almost generically strong, yet good sound. Generically meaning it doesn’t necessarily jump out at you like the next artist when you hear it, but a great voice for any number of kind of songs in the genre.

    Vocals-Trisha Yearwood
    A distinct, light, fluffy voice built perfect for taking the lead when needed or providing backup or singing co-lead.

  17. MikeNo Gravatar

    CWI…Country While Under the Influence

    Lead Vocals- Joe Diffie

    Vocals-Rodney Carrington

    Vocals- Cletus T. Judd

    COME ON! That’s the biggest parody right there! I wanted to do another one, so there, I did.

  18. DavidNo Gravatar

    How about this…

    3 Queens
    LeAnn Rimes
    Lila McCann
    Jessica Andrews

    The “teen queens” of the 1990’s were terrific singers back then. A decade of life experience has only made them better. All of their careers could use the boost a one-time collaborative effort would produce. An added bonus is that all three have become pretty good songwriters, too.

  19. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson and Keith Urban, plus Nicole Kidman on tambourine and background vocals. “Aussie ABBA.”

    But really, I’d love to see a combination of Urban, Buddy Miller, Chris Thile and then someone really good at banjo. Ron Block? Emily Robison maybe? And a fiddler.

  20. OTWGNo Gravatar

    This super group would rank only second to the Highwaymen. The name would be “Kick Ass” and the members are as follows:

    Stoney LaRue
    Cody Canada
    Jason Boland
    Wade Bowen

  21. LariatNo Gravatar

    Women’s vocal supergroup

    Ashley Monroe
    Miranda Lambert
    Carrie Underwood

    Men’s vocal supergroup

    Vince Gill
    Josh Turner
    Brad Paisley

  22. You want to hear a bad country song? Check out Gory Bateson’s latest original Country Christian twanger, “Your Name,” at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nINlQjR6az0