Two Grammy-nominated artists took the CMT CROSSROADS stage in Nashville, Tenn., for an unforgettable night of musical convergence. Popular band OneRepublic teamed up with country star Dierks Bentley to put a creative spin on each other’s hit singles, with Bentley and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder sharing vocals.
Bentley, approached by CMT to film an edition of CROSSROADS, single-handedly chose OneRepublic as his musical partner.
Bentley said OneRepublic is one of the most talented bands and that he’s always looked up to them.
“I waited for this CROSSROADS,” Bentley said. “It took me years to pick a partner, and I love OneRepublic.”
Last week’s CROSSROADS came together in just a week’s time. With Bentley and OneRepublic both currently on tour, only two days worked for the artists to get together.
When Tedder received the news that Bentley wished to tape CMT CROSSROADS with OneRepublic he was ordering from Wetzel’s Pretzels.
“The call went something like, ‘Yes, that sounds great. I’ll take the mustard and cheese, please, with the pretzel,’” Tedder said.
Tedder, an Oklahoma native, is no stranger to Music City and its country roots. Tedder moved to Nashville when he turned 18 years old to pursue his musical aspirations.
He said choosing the city as his then-home was an easy decision.
“Music is literally everywhere,” Tedder said. “When you walk through the city you hear music coming from everywhere — bars and restaurants. So I racked up massive credit card debt and moved there.”
Only a handful of country artists ever enter Tedder’s musical radar, but Bentley is one that has time and time again.
“Dierks is one of few I really love,” Tedder said. “The fact that he writes his own stuff impresses the hell out of me.”
Between songs, Bentley and Tedder shared stories about music, but also kept the mood very light-hearted. During some downtime, Tedder showed off another skill he’s acquired — country artist impressions.
While Tedder gave the audience a glimpse of his impression of Rascal Flatts’ lead singer, Gary Levox, much to the crowd’s dismay he wouldn’t show off his imitation of Luke Bryan.
“The guy is too nice to do it to,” Tedder said. “Plus, I think my teeth need to be whiter.”
Bryan covered OneRepublic’s debut smash-hit “Apologize” on his 2009 sophomore album, “Doin’ My Thing.” Tedder joined Bryan onstage during the 2012 CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR for a special performance of the song.
Throughout the taping, every now and then, the artists would mix up a word or two from a lyric and the song would have to be restarted.
Bentley said that CROSSROADS producers told them that the Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire edition of the show was the most efficiently and quickly taped of all, with errors at an all-time minimum.
“We’re just trying to give the fans a better and longer experience,” Bentley said. “You could already be drinking at Tootsie’s, but we want to give you a good show.”
CMT CROSSROADS: ONEREPUBLIC AND DIERKS BENTLEY will air March 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CMT.