Country music star and LGBTQ activist Ty Herndon reworked some of his favorite songs, from his own 1995 hit "What Mattered Most" to Bonnie Raitt's 1991 single "I Can't Make You Love Me," for Aug. 23 release Got It Covered. The new album reintroduces Herndon and his peers' past hits to a new audience while creating audio and visual opportunities to further a more important mission: one driven by love and acceptance.
Today, Wide Open Country premieres the video for "I Can't Make You Love Me." It's a simple, black-and-white look at one of the best country vocalists and song interpreters of the past 30 years as he sings the words of all-time great songwriters Mike Reid (Ronnie Milsap's "Stranger in My House") and Allen Shamblin (Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me").
"The first time I heard this song I had just ended a relationship,"Herndon tells Wide Open Country. "I was driving in my truck from Dallas... to Nashville. I ended up on the side of the road crying my eyes out. As much as it hurt I knew there was healing in this music. I would think many people pulled over to the side of the road just like I did. Today I hear this song and I know it is absolutely about letting go and letting God in. For me this song is what music is all about."
This intimate interpretation celebrates the talents sharpened when Herndon worked shifts at OpryLand with the band that became Diamond Rio, proven viable during his run of '90s hits and revisited five years after Chely Wright's courage in coming out of the closet inspired Herndon to live his own truth.
Read More: Ty Herndon on His 'Most Authentic' Album Yet
Other covers of note include Carrie Underwood's "So Small," which features the LGBTQ youth of The Rainbow Squad, a Nashville-based group based around providing a safe space and community resources for trans and gay kids. Per a press release, the goal of this collaboration is to raise awareness of the need to provide support systems for kids like this during this time in their lives, and inspire other communities and schools to start similar groups.