Lauren Alaina's first Country Airplay No. 1, 2016's "The Road Less Traveled," takes on a new meaning in a new, acoustic-based performance filmed for the Alzheimer's Association's Music Moments campaign.
In the video, Alaina says that the song, which she co-wrote with Jesse Frasure and Meghan Trainor, is about "staying positive and taking your own path and believing in yourself."
Alzheimer's impacts Alaina's family directly. Her papaw is living with the disease, which, per alz.org, is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior.
"He was such a champion of mine," Alaina says during the video's intro. "Helped me pay for my first CD (and) bought my first karaoke system, and he just was always in my corner."
Alaina and her brother spent a lot of time with the widower as he started showing signs of Alzheimer's.
"It's a pain that is indescribable for all involved," she said of the disease. "From my experience, unlike anything else I've ever witnessed. The thing that we all have is our identities and the people that make up our lives."
The former American Idol runner-up's revisiting of an anthemic country radio smash offers hope to family members facing similar situations.
"People listening to this song are going to think, 'Yeah, I can be brave and I can be strong'," she added. "I can get through this situation. That's the beautiful thing about music. When there's melodies and lyrics attached to a storyline, it's an escapism from where you actually are in that moment. It's healing for where your heart is, and you relate whatever that person's story is to your own. This song always lifts me up, so I thought maybe it could do the same for others."
More importantly, Papaw is a fan.
"I get videos of my grandfather dancing to 'Road Less Traveled'," Alaina said. "Music, for some reason, still really makes him joyous and makes him smile, and he'll still dance. When I go visit him, I sit at the piano and I sing him different songs, mostly Elvis. But music brings him joy, which brings me joy."