My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Secret Collaborations

question_mark2Recently I’ve bought many Trisha Yearwood albums, namely Hearts In Armor, Inside Out, Real Live Woman and The Song Remembers When, in that order (the last one hasn’t arrived yet). The other day I was listening to all of my Trisha music on shuffle (which adds H,HatPoL and Jasper County to the previous albums) when the song “Try Me” from Jasper County came on. Listening to the song closely, I found that the background singer was very familiar — it sounded like Ronnie Dunn! Checking the Wikipedia page for the album confirmed my suspicion: it was him! I decided I want to find all of these so-called “secret collaborations” (I made up the name myself). It’s basically when another artist (preferably a noticeable one) contributes either by singing or with instruments, but is not credited except possibly in the liner notes.

Here are all of the ones I can think of. Some are repeated from above or past reviews:

Contributed vocals:
“Try Me” by Trisha Yearwood – Ronnie Dunn is singing harmony vocals.
“Mean Girls” by Sugarland – Brad Paisley is playing the guitar on this track.
“Blue Diamond Mines” by Kathy Mattea – Patty Loveless sings harmony vocals.
“Trying To Find Atlantis” by Jamie O’Neal – Carolyn Dawn Johnson does background vocals.
“Where Are You Now” by Trisha Yearwood – Kim Richey and Mary Chapin Carpenter

Contributed Instrumental Work:
“Boy Like Me” by Jessica Harp – Keith Urban is playing guitar.
“I Hope” by The Dixie Chicks – John Mayer does the guitar solo.
“The Weight Of Love” by LeAnn Rimes – Keith Urban has a guitar solo here.
Almost all of Home by The Dixie Chicks – Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek) provided the mandolin work.

So I want you to give me as many as possible!
I know I had more, but I can’t remember them all. I think I knew of another track that Keith Urban played guitar on but I forgot it…

21 responses to “Secret Collaborations

  1. Felipe February 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    I discovered it just a couple of days ago:

    “Trying To Find Atlantis” by Jamie O’Neal – Carolyn Dawn Johnson does background vocals

    That was weird to me.

  2. J.R. Journey February 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Interesting topic. And I didn’t know John Mayer was doing the guitar work on ‘I Hope’. You taught me something new.

    Vince Gill of course is the king of harmony singers. He’s performed harmony on countless songs without being credited (except maybe in the liner notes as you mentioned). And on some big hits too, like Reba’s ‘You Lie’ and Faith Hill’s ‘Let Me Let Go’. He can also be heard on Conway Twitty’s ‘Saturday Night Special’ – not to be confused with the Lynyrd Skynyrd tune of the same name. Likewise, Patty Loveless provides obvious though uncredited backing vocals to Vince’s ‘When I Call Your Name’.

    Writers Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kim Richey sang harmony on Trisha Yearwood’s version of their ‘Where Are You Now’ too. And Trisha Yearwood sings on countless Garth Brooks records – she is actually listed as a background vocalist on every studio album he’s made with the exception of The Life of Chris Gaines and his second Christmas disc, The Magic of Christmas. Most notably on ‘Shameless’, ‘The River’, ‘Victim of the Game’ (which Trisha also recorded on her debut album), ‘The Red Strokes’ and more. Trisha Yearwood was a major influence on the sound of Garth Brooks, and never credited for it.

    That’s all I can think of right now.

  3. Leeann Ward February 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Vince is on a lot of Patty’s early work, including “Timber I’m Falling in Love” and “On Down the line.” And as JR said, he’s on a ton of albums without being credited more than in the liner notes. This is a great topic and I’m gonna dig up some more.

  4. Leeann Ward February 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    It’s really already known, but Martina McBride adds awesome vocals to Big and Rich’s “Live This Life.”

  5. highwayman3 February 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Keith Urban, does background vocals and/or guitar on:
    Trisha Yearwoods -“Let the Wind Chase You.”
    Martina McBride -“Trying To Find A Reason”
    Leann Rimes -“The Weight of Love
    Lee Ann Womack -“The Bees”

  6. Chris February 26, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    He’s on “The Weight Of Love”? Really? I didn’t know that! (Checking liner notes: Oh, on guitar, that’s why!)

    The other three he’s credited on, so I’ll leave them out, but I’ll edit some of these lesser ones in.

    I know Leeann, it’s like a scavenger hunt, isn’t it? I haven’t heard the Big & Rich song though.

    I guess I’ll leave the Vince Gill ones off because there are so many, ditto with the Yearwood/Brooks ones.

    I knew there was a reason I love “Where Are You Now” so much…

    Keep them coming everyone!

  7. Razor X February 26, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Trisha Yearwood sings harmony on Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around”

    Patty Loveless is on Tim McGraw’s “Please Remember Me” and Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church”

    Emmylou Harris is also a guest vocalist on many, many records, including Keith Whitley’s “Would These Arms Be In Your Way”, The Judds’ “The Sweetest Gift”, and Vince Gill’s “Oh Carolina”.

    I also read that Tammy Wynette did some uncredited background vocals on some of George Jones’ records before he signed with Epic. They were uncredited because the labels weren’t as cooperative back then as they are now about letting their artists record with artists on a rival label. I have no idea which recordings she sang on, but I would love to find out.

  8. highwayman3 February 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Not sure, but some of these may be credited, but its from memory as my CD’s are at home, and I am not.
    Brooks & Dunn – ‘If It’s The Last Thing I Do’ – Trisha Yearwood background vocals
    Tim McGraw – ‘Blank Sheet of Paper,’ ‘Shotgun Rider,’ ‘Angry all the Time’ – Faith Hill background vocals
    Kenny Rogers – ‘Buy Me A Rose’ – Alison Krauss, Billy Dean backup
    Martina Mcbride – ‘Beautiful Again’ – Carolyn Dawn Johnson back up
    Lori McKenna – ‘Falter’ Faith Hill backup
    Martina McBride – ‘Heartaches by the Numbers’ Dwight Yoakum backup, and Dolly for ‘I still miss someone’

    Thats All I can Think of now.

  9. Sean February 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I won’t mention the billion songs Linda Davis has been on in the background for Reba.

    Some songs I found were Reba’s “Once You’ve Learned to Be Lonely” with Alison Krauss on fiddle and background vocals.

    Dierks Bentley’s “Sweet & Wild” with Sarah Buxton as background vocals.

    When Janie Fricke was first starting out, she sang some uncredited background vocals for Johnny Duncan.

    Ronnie Dunn contributed vocals to Keith Urban’s “Raise the Barn” but I believ that he was credited for it. Oh well.

    I’m pretty sure there is a lot more, but I can’t think of anymore off of the top of my head. Hope this helps.

  10. Ellen February 27, 2009 at 1:28 am

    “Bring on the Rain” by Jo Dee Messina with Tim Macgraw as background vocals.

  11. Lynn February 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Keith Urban appears to be a popular collaborator (or just a really nice guy)! He also played guitar on “Some Days You Gotta Dance” on the Dixie Chicks Fly album. That song had previously been recorded by Urban’s band The Ranch.

  12. Chris February 27, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I found another one, on Trisha Yearwood’s “Woman Walk The Line”, Emmylou Harris is on background vocals.

  13. J.R. Journey February 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I remember reading that now that you mention it, Chris.

    Trisha also had Rosanne Cash provide backing vocals when she recorded ‘Seven Year Ache’. She seems to like to bring the creators of the song in to help her – and that would intimidate most artists, to have to record a classic song with the original singer right there.

    But it’s worked beautifully every time.

  14. Chris February 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Of course, Rosanne also sings part of the 2nd verse as well.

    I also think that’s cool, to have the creator join in- then you know you’re staying true to their artistic vision, or at least I would hope that would happen.

    I decided not to update the post, there are too many responses, which is a good thing. XD

  15. Jordan Stacey February 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I’m staying at a friends house tonight but I’m going to go look through my collection when I get home tomorrow, the Vince Gill on “Let Me Let Go” surprised me a lot, didn’t see that one coming.

  16. Leeann Ward February 27, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Ah, but Jordan, he even sings a snippet by himself on “Let Me Let Go.”

    Vince’s These Days Box Set has a lot of guest vocalists…LeAnn Rimes, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Rait, Jenny Gill (his daughter, Amy Grant, Del McCoury, Trisha Yearwood…and that’s not even including the full on duets (Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Michael McDonald, John Anderson, Dianna Krall, etc.) that are on that project.

    Vince’s The Key has guest contributors such as Lee Ann Womack, Sara Evans, Shelby Lynn, Rebecca Bramlett, etc.
    Continuing on the Vince theme, all of Emmylou Harris’ Angel Band album has Vince on it, singing background vocals.

    Jon Randall sings a lot on Emmylou Harris’Live At the Ryman album.

    Ricky Skaggs contributes quite a bit to Emmylou’s Roses in the Snow album and Johnny Cash even contributes supporting vocals with Ricky on a song.

    I’ll be back!:)

  17. Occasional Hope March 1, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I’m not sure if it quite qualifies as a secret, because it’s on the back of the CD, but I’m going to nominate the guys from Diamond Rio singing backing vocals on Josh Turner’s ‘Me & God’, because I think it’s less known than the duet vocal by Ralph Stanley.

    Vince Gill played guitar on the Sweethearts of the Rodeo’s early albums. Rodney Crowell is on the second one, One Time One Night.

  18. Margie March 6, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Man, I love Keith Urban’s The Ranch album! Why didn’t radio like it? It was more country sounding than any of his other albums.

  19. Leeann Ward March 6, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Vince also sang on some of Crowell’s early work, along with some of Steve Wariner’s songs. Alison Krauss has sung background vocals for people quite often too.

  20. Leeann Ward April 4, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve been in a Suzy Bogguss mood tonight and realized that her Nobody Love, Nobody Gets Hurt album (my favorite Bogguss album) has a lot of good guest background vocals, including Hal Ketchum, Kathy Mattea and Garth Brooks. Garth’s vocal is a strong contribution on “Take Me Back.” Vince Gill also guests on a superb version of “I Still Miss Someone” on her album with Chet Atkins. I highly recommend both of those songs.

  21. Razor X April 4, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    The album with Chet Atkins is fantastic. I haven’t listened to it in a long time. I need to dig it out and dust it off.

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