Stars of country music and Americana celebrated the music of ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons on May 16 at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Among the performances from that night making the rounds on YouTube is reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Eric Church's bluesy, hard-hitting cover of classic rock staple "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide."
Church's choice flaunts a couple of things: the country star's mastery of his rock 'n' roll roots and the way ZZ Top jumbled elements of Texas' blues and rock traditions into something refreshingly new at the time.
The event, titled A Tribute to Billy Gibbons, featured live performances by Brad Paisley, Ronnie Milsap, Lucinda Williams, Travis Tritt, Larkin Poe, Dennis Quaid, Tim Montana, Guthrie Trapp and Jimmie Vaughan.
Per the Tennessean, the night's house band featured Fred Eltringham (drums), Mike Merritt (bass), Audley Freed (guitar), Richie LaBamba Rosenberg (trombone), Joe Sublett (sax) and Mike Pender (trumpet), with music director Martin Guigui joining in on piano.
Those stars and surprise guests raised funds for veteran-supporting nonprofits and first-responder charities, such as the USO, ThanksUSA and the First Responders Children's Foundation.
The news of a socially-distanced, limited-capacity tribute concert produced by America Salutes You follows details about the ZZ Top guitarist and frontman's next solo album.
Hardware arrives on June 4. Gibbons wrote 11 of the 12 new songs with Matt Sorum (former Guns 'N' Roses, Velvet Revolver and The Cult drummer), Mike Fiorentino and engineer Chad Shlosser. The only cover, "Hey Baby, Que Paso," was originally recorded by the Texas Tornados for the 1990 album Los Texas Tornados.
"We holed up in the desert for a few weeks in the heat of the summer and that in itself was pretty intense," Gibbons said (as quoted by UDiscoverMusic). "To let off steam we just 'let it rock' and that's what Hardware is really all about. For the most part, it's a raging rocker but always mindful of the desert's implicit mystery."
And if you want to see something else country-related that involves Gibbons, check out Chapel Hart's music video for "Jesus and Alcohol."
Hardware Track List
"My Lucky Card"
"She's On Fire"
"Shuffle, Step & Slide"
"West Coast Junkie"
"Stackin' Bones" (featuring Larkin Poe)
"I Was A Highway"
"Hey Baby, Que Paso"