The Country Music Association’s “Forever Country” series is churning out some gems. The latest is Mark Wills covering Kenny Rogers’ iconic song “The Gambler.”
With just two guitars and two microphones, Wills and his accompaniment delivers a spot-on ode to one of Rogers’ most beloved tunes. The track even won “Song of the Year” at the 1979 CMA Awards.
As Wills hits the sing-along chorus, it gives you chills: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.” It’s country songwriting at its finest.
Don Schlitz wrote “The Gambler” in 1976 and tried to get the song cut for two years. Believe it or not, Bobby Bare actually recorded the tune before Kenny Rogers. But Rogers’ iconic cut can’t be beat.
The “Forever Country” cover series features current country artists tipping their hats to the incredible tunes that came before them. The CMAs plan to roll out new cover videos in the weeks leading up to the 50th Annual CMA Awards.
Other performances include Billy Ray Cyrus covering George Jones and Michael Ray covering Kris Kristofferson. The biggest wave from the “Forever Country” ocean, of course, came in the form of a mashup.
Dozens of iconic artists joined in a Shane McAnally-produced collaboration of country favorites “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “On The Road Again” and “I Will Always Love You.” The 50th Annual CMAs air live on Wednesday, Nov. 2.