“It’s going to be chaotic and it’s live and that’s going to bring an element of true excitement to the show,” Hill tells Billboard.com. “We’ll see. We’re just gonna have fun.” Hynde, meanwhile, notes that, “I come from a rock mentality, so I like a bit of chaos. It’s a gig, y’know? If someone asks me to sing or play, that’s what I do. It’s just a show. It’s just eight songs. What do you have to know? We’ll figure it out.”
“CMT Crossroads: The Pretenders & Faith Hill Live From the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam” will take place at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, Super Bowl XLV eve, at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas. It marks just the second live “Crossroads” event; the first was “Toby Keith’s Shock ‘N Y’all Super Bowl Party: A Crossroads Special” before 2004’s Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. As per usual, Hill and Hynde — who have spoken on the phone and were slated to fly to Dallas on Wednesday and start rehearsing Thursday — will perform with each other’s bands, with all of the musicians joining forces for a grand finale.
“I think there’s definitely going to be songs people recognize, for sure,” Hill says. “The big ones, you name ’em and we’ll probably be doing it — ‘Brass in Pocket,’ ‘I’ll Stand By You.’ I don’t want to reveal the whole show. And it’s live, so there’s always surprises.”
Hill — who sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 in Atlanta and “America the Beautiful” before Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 in Tampa, Fla. — says that the Pretenders were “at the top of my (wish) list” when CMT approached her about the “Crossroads” episode. “I’ve been a Pretenders fan since ‘Brass in Pocket’,” she says. “It’s like ’70s rock ‘n’ roll but with a little punk, and just so unique. The music is exciting, and lyrically there’s some deep stuff there, and (Hynde’s) phrasing is so incredibly unique. They’re just great.”
Hynde, meanwhile, confesses that she’s not quite as familiar with Hill. “I don’t know much about country music, period,” she says, “not because I don’t like it or I’m not interested but…It’s a weird thing, the way the rock industry and the country industry are two completely different things. And I live in England and those guys don’t seem to come over here much, although I know Faith has been here a few years ago ’cause someone I know said they saw her.”
And while Hill knows from experience that the Super Bowl is “a really big weekend” each year, Hynde is unfazed by the hoopla.
“I’m sure it’s a big deal if you’re a football fan, but I’m not,” she explains. “If I’m watching sports, I might watch snooker or darts. It’s not really getting my adrenalin going or anything. To me, all the shows are the same; it doesn’t matter if it’s television or what. A good live show in a club of 200 people, that’s what turns me on, so I just treat every show like that.”
Both artists have studio plans after the “CMT Crossroads” show. Hynde plans a March start for a second album with her other band, J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys, though she’ll also “be thinking about” a new Pretenders album — the group’s first since 2008’s “Break Up the Concrete.” Hill, who spends most of her time raising her three daughters with Tim McGraw, also plans to be recording in March, continuing to work on her first set of new material since 2005’s double-platinum “Fireflies.”