Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis, “I Told You So”

randy-travis-and-carrie-underwoodWhat a fascinating collaboration. Both Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood have recorded distinctly different but equally compelling versions of “I Told You So.”

Travis was all tortured uncertainty in his version, like a nervous inner monologue made public. It was only on the chorus that he truly sang, as the verses were practically spoken.

Underwood chose to sand down those rough edges in her spin on the classic, expanding the hook into a power note and crafting a smooth melody out of the jagged verses.

Each original recording played to its artist’s strengths, but how can such disparate performances come together to make one cohesive record?

Apparently quite easily. The collaborative take on “I Told You So” doesn’t splice together bits and pieces of the original recordings. It takes the approach of those old country collaborations instead, where two distinctive stylists sing in harmony without compromising their own sound.

Is it perfect harmony? Of course not. There’s nothing even remotely seamless about it, and that’s why it works. These voices are far too strong for one to blend into the background of the other, but the soft purity of Underwood’s voice perfectly complements the ragged twang of Travis’s ragged vocal.

It’s the perfect contradiction of sounds for this particular song, with Underwood being the voice of hope for reconciliation, and Travis being the nagging doubt that the answer will be “I Told You So.”

Written by Randy Travis

Grade: A

Listen: I Told You So


  1. Great review Kevin!

    I agree, their voices seem to balance each other out beautifully. I love both of their seperate versions but the collaboration is amazing! I think it was a great move for them to release a duet version of the song, and, to also perform it perfectly on last week’s Idol results show. It’s great!

  2. Kevin, I completely agree with you. It is not perfect and that is what makes it stand out.

    When I was watching AI to see the live (recorded the night before) performance I really didn’t know what to expect. I could think of all kinds of reasons why this wasn’t going to work. But as Randy Jackson would say they worked it out. Carrie, with a well rested voice, sounded phenomenal and Randy was his normal easy going self with that gravely baritone of his and it just worked.

  3. Carrie and Randy do such a great job on this song. Definitely and A! Did you also know that carrie is up for Entertainer of the year at the upcoming ACMs. If she wins she will be the only girl in 7 years to win it. You all ccan vote at

  4. My only issue is the way they sing it, the song makes zero sense, but I think that wasn’t the point of the duet. The point was to have Randy included in the song because they can really, and it sounds amazing to me.

  5. Randy’s version is probably the first country song I can really remember (maybe because it crossed over), and I liked it. When I heard Carrie’s I just loved it, she really displayed her talent on this one, singing ever so softly then soaring into the chorus while using just enough restraint. What I like about the two is, it like hearing the same song telling two different sides to the story. Then I heard radio stations mixing the two together and I thought they could pull this off and the studio version is way better than the mixed one.

    I like how Kevin worded it a featuring and not a duet, that is what it really is. That featuring role makes it so much better. He has such a distinguishing voice and Carrie holds back while harmonizing just enough not to over power his low/soft voice. The arragement I think was done perfectly although I wouldn’t of minded a full duet.

    Now the AI performance gave me a better appretiation for the song and each artist. I had to watch it back a few times to realized the admiration and respect these two display for eachother. There are a few times where Randy is just staring at her in what seems to be awe and one where he has a huge grin and shakes his head. Where she just beams as he starts to sing.

    Great review and hope to hear this version on radio as it should be heard by all. Although it is not full out traditional but it is on the traditional side and they need a taste of that on the radio right now.

  6. I fully agree with this review. I Told You So is such a great country song. I love the way Carrie and Randy bring together the old and new country. You can just see the admiration and respect they have for each other. Carrie has an amazing voice and makes this song her own and when you add Randy…well you just have a perfect collaboration. A+ from me. Just great!

  7. I’m not impressed..I like Randy’s origina; version better, tho Carrie’s solo worked well for me; might’ve been Vince’s harmony that helped. This one is too disjointed to my ears for what that’s worth

  8. I haven’t even heard this version of the song on the radio yet, but I do agree that their voices work well together. Although I don’t normally like Randy Travis, I think he compliments this.

    On a side note, I thought he should have sang more when they sang it on American Idol. I hope he sings more on the radio version.

  9. From the time I learned that Carrie was releasing “I Told You So” I prayed for a duet–then a dj at a Cincinnati radio station remixed Carrie’s and Randy’s versions and they sounded great together (he posted it on youtube) and the the video had over 125,000 views plus everyone wanted a copy of the video–so then we started writing to everyone we could think of to get Carrie and Randy to perform this as a duet on the the upcoming ACM Awards and the rest is history!! Randy and Carrie did an amazing job on their recording together and on American Idol–Im still hoping to see it performed on the awards show so Im crossing my fingers!! This is what music is about–giving the people what they want to see and hear this is just proof of that!! I give them an A+ and look forward to more great hits from Carrie Underwood because I feel we have just begun to see parts of her full potential as an artist! If you haven’t heard Carrie’s cover of “Home Sweet Home” check it out she does such an amazing job on whomevers song she covers!!!

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