The Bellamy Brothers spread the word about the country duo's first-ever covers album, Covers From the Brothers, by sharing a version of Billy Swan's crossover country hit from 1974, "I Can Help," recorded with guest vocalist Dennis Quaid.
"What was funny is when we walked into the studio to do the duet with Dennis, he was on the phone with Billy," David told Wide Open Country. "He was talking, 'Hey Billy, we're over here cutting your song. I'm over here cutting it with the Bellamys.' Billy was like, 'Oh great, man. Maybe we'll make some more money.'"
By recording the cover in person with Quaid (an arrangement that hasn't been a given over the past 16 months), The Bellamy Brothers got to witness a transformation that crossed a veteran actors' creative process with his lifelong love of music.
"Working in the studio [with Quaid] was a real treat," Howard said. "You can tell he's an actor because he finds the character. He was searching for the character in that song, and he finally nailed it. He became that character. Sometimes that's hard to do for just normal singers. He's very animated."
Quaid was equally thrilled to share studio time with The Bellamy Brothers, likening his experience in a press release to that of "a kid skipping school and jamming with a band."
The makeshift trio's version of "I Can Help" teases the fall release of Covers From the Brothers. Like most recent and upcoming tributes to artists' heroes, the album took shape during the pandemic.
"I think COVID got everybody quite creative, you know," David added. "They were kind of stuck home in their studios. But you know, we had worked on some tracks in Germany a while back, and they had bugged us until we did some covers. They wanted us do some covers. We were like, 'We don't want to do any covers. We're an original group.' We did them and they turned out really nice. So it got us going, 'Well, I like this song and like that song,' so one thing led to another."
Although the siblings couldn't reveal all details, they did promise 13 or 14 songs, from a version of the Righteous Brothers' "You Lost That Loving Feeling" recorded in Germany to what David described as a "slow reggae version" of the Bob Dylan-penned "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Fans should also expect The Bellamy Brother's spin on "Games People Play" by Joe South, "Most Beautiful Girl in the World" by Charlie Rich and "Never Ending Love" by Delaney & Bonnie. The latter features Jenee Fleenor, an award-winning fiddler and side musician for the brothers' friend and former tour mate, Blake Shelton.
"We grew up in groups doing covers in clubs for years, so we've done all of these old songs way back," Howard said. "We know them and love them, and then you realize what a great era for writing it was back then."
The Bellamy Brothers already perform "I Can Help" live, as recently as a Saturday night (July 10) Grand Ole Opry appearance with Quaid.
"It's one of those fun, unique songs," Howard said. "We've been doing it as an encore, and it's fun to watch people get up and do an old-style dance to it."
The recording session will be featured on a future episode of The Bellamy Brothers' reality series on Circle, Honky Tonk Ranch.