01 February 2008

The ties that bind country and gospel music shine in How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites Live from the Grand Ole Opry, a 90-minute television special celebrating songs from an RCA Records album of the same name, debuting Saturday, February 9 (8 p.m. ET) on Great American Country (GAC).

  (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080201/CLF068-a)
  (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080201/CLF068-b)

"I think there's a great relationship between country music and gospel music because country music is about both sides of the coin. It's about having a great time on Saturday, but it's also about asking for a little forgiveness ... or for probably many of us, a lot of forgiveness on Sunday," notes country star Dierks Bentley.

Bentley joins stars like reigning ACM and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Carrie Underwood, the legendary Loretta Lynn, Vince Gill, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Milsap, and Charlie Daniels for an evening of classic gospel performances from country music's most famous stage, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

"In country music, people are proud of their faith and I think that's really amazing. It's part of the reason I love country music so much," says Underwood who performs the special's title track "How Great Thou Art."

Other performances include Gill's "Give Me Jesus," Bentley's "A House Of Gold," Loretta Lynn's "Where No One Stands Alone," Trace Adkins' "Wayfaring Stranger," Milsap's "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," and Evans' "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."

"How Great Thou Art" also includes performances from the stage of the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium. Reigning ACM and CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Brad Paisley performs "The Old Rugged Cross" which he also sang during his induction to the Grand Ole Opry in 2001 and Ricky Skaggs and The Whites perform "Family Bible."

Like many artists, Evans grew up singing hymns in church. "Historically, gospel has played a large part in the Grand Ole Opry, and I'm very honored to be a part of the album and the GAC special."

For the special, Opry Music Director Steve Gibson assembled an all-star band of Nashville session A-listers including John Hobbs on piano, Brent Mason on guitar, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, Paul Franklin on steel and dobro and Paul Leim on drums.

GAC is the exclusive television provider of performances from titles on the RCA Records CD How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites From The Grand Ole Opry, which will release in stores on February 5.

About Great American Country (GAC)

Great American Country is the leader in country music entertainment. GAC delivers to viewers the widest variety of country music, its artists and the lifestyles they influence. GAC broadcasts original country music programming, country music performance specials, live concerts, music videos, and is the exclusive television home of the Grand Ole Opry. GAC is available in more than 52.6 million households and online at http://www.gactv.com/.

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Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080201/CLF068-a
http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080201/CLF068-b
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/

SOURCE: Great American Country

CONTACT: Elle Butler for Great American Country (GAC), +1-615-327-7562,
ebutler@gactv.com

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