Metal outfit Five Finger Death Punch have joined forces with Queen’s Brian May, country rock star Brantley Gilbert and blues icon Kenny Wayne Shepherd to record a special version Shepherd’s ‘Blue On Black’.
“We feel like it’s a multi-dimensional, multi-level effort unifying the different genres,” Gilbert told Billboard.
“There was a time when music was always a unifying element, when the genre didn’t matter – a good song was a good song. This segregation in musical genres came later, and it’s still pretty segregated. I think music has to regain this place where it’s unification. So for us it’s an honour to have this record with these people and have hard rock, classic rock, country all together on a song.”
Bringing together icons of every genre, the new cover merges country and rock together to create a new classic that benefits Gary Sinise’s non-profit for first-responders.
FFDP initially recorded Shepherd’s 1998 hit on their 2018 album, And Justice For None. The collaboration came together when FFDP suggested they recorded a new cover with Shepherd playing guitar and singing. Gilbert, who happened to be in the same studio, heard about the project and added May through mutual friends.
“When (May’s) solo came in everyone just stopped and went, ‘That’s Brian May!’” FFDP guitarist Zoltan Bathory told Billboard. “He has such a distinctive tone. You know it can only be him.”
Meanwhile, Shepherd is pleased to have another version of his hit.
“My goal as a writer is to write songs that stand the test of time and have many different lives,” he told Billboard. “We had a great run with that song. It was a massive hit for us. That it can still be a massive force to be reckoned with 20 years later is exactly what you want as a songwriter.”
Bathory also explained the band’s decision to work with Sinise’s foundation, “To raise awareness for and support first responders is a cause that’s always been close to our hearts,” he shared in a statement.
The accompanying video also reflects this commitment, with scenes of firefighters, police officers, intercut with May and the band.
Listen to ‘Blue On Black’ here.
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