More than 60 country and contemporary Christian artists gathered last night (June 19) in a Nashville studio to record "America the Beautiful" under the guidance of producers Tony Brown of MCA Nashvill

More than 60 country and contemporary Christian artists gathered last night (June 19) in a Nashville studio to record "America the Beautiful" under the guidance of producers Tony Brown of MCA Nashville and James Stroud of DreamWorks. Among the participating artists were Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Lonestar, Keith Urban, Billy Dean, Jaci Velasquez, Avalon, Mark Miller, Trace Adkins, Brenda Lee, Jars of Clay, Toby Keith, Jamie O'Neal, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, and Martina McBride.

The event was orchestrated by renowned television producer Norman Lear, who purchased one of the surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence about a year ago at a Sothebys Internet auction and started a non-profit foundation, the Declaration of Independence Project, aimed at keeping the document circulating around the country in public view.

On July 4, the document will be read at a Philadelphia event by 11 actors, including Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Kathy Bates. That event, which will air as a live special on ABC-TV, will also feature performances from Garth Brooks, Jill Scott, and Blue Man Group. Lear says footage from the Nashville recording session will be used in the ABC special, or the network's "Good Morning America," or both.

Lear says plans call for every Nashville label to have a hand in taking the song to radio for airplay in the days leading up to the July 4 event.

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