Jimmie Allen's 2020 collection of collaborations went from a seven-song EP to a 16-song set of dream team-ups with its June reissue as Bettie James Gold Edition (BBR Music Group/Stoney Creek Records).
Allen works with country music legends (the late Charley Pride), this century's top Nashville stars (Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker) and familiar names from outside the genre (Babyface, Nelly, Noah Cyrus) across a playlist that amplifies his musical talents and tastes.
One of the collection's more moving moments comes when the spotlight in Allen, Tauren Wells and Rita Wilson collaboration "When This is Over" shifts to legendary country and gospel quartet The Oak Ridge Boys.
Allen jumped at the chance to work with a family favorite, with or without the country music industry's stamp of approval, on a song that truly suits our current situation.
"Oak Ridge Boys was my grandma's favorite group of all time. And I've been a fan, shucks, I've been a fan of The Oak Ridge boys forever," Allen said during a recent appearance on The Ty Bentli Show on Apple Music Country. "So the crazy thing, William Lee Golden from The Oak Ridge Boys, his son is my tour bus driver. So that's how I was able to make that connection. So he just reached out to his dad, and he's like, 'Hey, Jimmie wants to do a song with y'all.' I wanted them to have their own moment, man. They're such a legendary group, I didn't want The Oak Ridge Boys to get lost in the commotion of the song. I was like, 'I'm going to introduce them at the end, and it's going to be a moment.'
"And I had a couple of people, it's like, 'Well he should not have Oak Ridge Boys on there because they're older and people might not play it or country radio might not play it,'" Allen continued. "I said, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I never make music [for] country radio. I never write music for blogs. I write music and create music I like.' Then we go from there, and then we pitch that one to country radio. But I said, 'When you start letting outside distractions influence how you create music, the creation has been tampered. It's diluted.'"
The Bettie James project bears the names of Allen's late father, James Allen, and late grandmother, Bettie Snead.
Bettie James Gold Edition Track List
1. "Get Country" - Jimmie Allen, LOCASH
2. "Home Sweet Hometown" - Jimmie Allen, LANCO
3. "Flavor (feat. Vikina)" - Jimmie Allen, Pitbull, teamwork.
4. "Somebody" - Jimmie Allen, BRELAND, Lathan Warlick
5. "Pray" - Jimmie Allen, Monica, Little Big Town
6. "Boy Gets A Truck" - Jimmie Allen, Keith Urban
7. "Livin' Man" - Jimmie Allen, Neon Union
8. "Tequila Talkin'" - Jimmie Allen, Lindsay Ell, teamwork.
9. "Forever" - Jimmie Allen, Babyface
10. "Good Times Roll" - Jimmie Allen, Nelly
11. "Drunk & I Miss You" - Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton
12. "Made For These" - Jimmie Allen, Tim McGraw
13. "Freedom Was A Highway" - Jimmie Allen, Brad Paisley
14. "Why Things Happen" - Jimmie Allen, Darius Rucker, Charley Pride
15. "When This Is Over (feat. The Oak Ridge Boys)" - Jimmie Allen, Tauren Wells, Rita Wilson
16. "This Is Us" - Jimmie Allen, Noah Cyrus