Country music has a long list of iconic songs, and a new project, dubbed "Forever Country," has aimed to combine some of the most compelling into one brand-new track.
The project was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards, and features John Denver's "Country Roads, Take Me Home," Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again" coming together to make a very unique piece of music that features some of country music's biggest stars.
Shane McAnally, a Nashville songwriter and producer who produced "Forever Country," told PEOPLE that he was initially hesitant to take such great songs apart, but that the mash-up ultimately came together in the end.
"I didn't think it would work in our genre," he said. "I said, 'Maybe in pop music you can just take a piece of a song, but we tell stories. And we can't just cut into them and take a piece.'"
"I Will Always Love You" was a song that everyone felt like needed to be a part of it but I was having a hard time with the story – it's such a personal song. It's to one person," McAnally added. "But when you play that song over, 'Take Me Home, Country Roads', they somehow take on a life together and it feels almost like you're speaking more to the music, and to country music specifically, when you say, 'I will always love you.' It feels meant to be."
The list of 30 performers on the track includes country heavyweights like Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley, who opens the song.
“The artists who stepped up to participate in this one-of-a-kind project span all five decades of the CMA Awards,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, told ABC News. “They represent the heart of this song, the strength of our relationship with the fans, and the future of Country Music.”
"Forever Country" premiered on radio stations Friday, and its accompanying video will debut Tuesday. Take a listen to the song below, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the video above!