MONARCH: L-R: Anna Friel and Trace Adkins in the series premiere of Monarch airing Sunday, Sept. 11, immediately following the FOX NFL doubleheader (8:00-9:00 PM ET, and simultaneously to all time zones). It then makes its time period premiere Tuesday, Sept. 20 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).
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'Monarch' Staffer on Series' Covers-Heavy Country Soundtrack: 'It Introduces Amazing Songs to Whole New Audiences'

Based on its premise and a cast headlined by Trace Adkins, Fox drama series Monarch should follow the leads of Nashville and Yellowstone by exposing country music to primetime television viewers. Yet it's a former Fox series that's serving as a blueprint to spread twang far and wide, with former Glee staffer Alex Anders in Monarch's vocal producer/co-music production supervisor chair.

Like Glee, Monarch will present covers of familiar songs in a new context. Yet instead of repurposing Michael Jackson and Journey standards for high school theater productions, Anders is helping reinvent country classics (Adkins' take on Hank Williams Jr.'s "A Country Boy Can Survive") and pop hits (Beth Ditto's rootsy rendition of Lizzo's "Juice") in a contemporary country style.

"I think it's going to introduce a younger generation to songs that they maybe haven't heard before and bring up some of the old songs that we know and love," Anders told Wide Open Country and other outlets at a press event. "But also just introduce new people to the country style and performers. Totally different style. We're not Glee, you know. Even though we did that, this ain't it. It's a totally different thing. But I hope it does [for country music] what Glee did [for pop] in that it introduces amazing songs to whole new audiences."

Anders expanded on what sets his new job apart from his prior, pop-oriented gig.

"It's not as produced," he said of country music. "You're going to have things that are a little bit more raw. Hope that shows on the series."

Anders isn't a new country convert by any stretch. The graduate of Nashville's Belmont University landed a job in the '90s at Ricky Skaggs' Skaggs Place studio, where he'd work on two Grammy-award winning projects while learning from top-notch country, bluegrass and Americana engineers and musicians.

Monarch's a multigenerational musical drama about the the first family of country music: Albie (Adkins) and Dottie Cantrell Roman (Susan Sarandon) and their daughters Nicky (Anna Friel) and Gigi Taylor-Roman (Ditto). It premieres on Sun., Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. EST.

The first season's guest stars include Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker and Little Big Town.

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