Lady Antebellum didn’t let self-distancing stop their tribute to the late Kenny Rogers during a recent CMT special. On Wednesday evening, Lady A joined forces with their band to perform “Islands in the Stream” as part of CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares.
The 1983 hit duet was written by the Bee Gees and famously performed by Rogers and Dolly Parton, featured on Rogers’ album Eyes That See in the Dark. Lady Antebellum’s rendition includes Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley sharing lead vocals while Dave Haywood and five additional musicians perform the song from the comfort of their respective homes.
“Dave and Hillary and I were so excited when we found out that we could do ‘Islands in the Stream,’” Kelley said ahead of the band’s performance. “That song is so special because it opened such a giant audience to the country music genre, especially by these power duets. For us, it definitely opened the doors for a song like ‘Need You Now’ to even be considered to cross over into the pop world. It means the world to be able to put our voices to that song.”
Kelley kicked off the song alone before Hillary Scott joined in on harmony. While the trio appeared in the middle of the television screen, their bandmates are shown surrounding them while playing their respective instruments for a mesmerizing rendition of the country and pop standard.
“He has proven to crack the code of longevity,” Scott said of Rogers on the special. “Decades-long career. Seven decades, it’s incredible. Hands down one of the most generous people. I have heard so many stories from people like my mom and other artists … how when they toured with Kenny he allowed them to use every square inch of his stage to make their show as big and as great as it could be. That generosity is one of my favorite things about him. We felt that directly whenever we opened up for Kenny.”
The CMT broadcast included additional virtual performances by Parton, Gavin DeGraw, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie, Michael McDonald, Randy Houser, Rascal Flatts and Vince Gill.
The video of Lady Antebellum’s cover of “Islands in the Stream” is below.