Just in time for the nation’s birthday, its unofficial theme song is getting a makeover. All-vocal Country group Home Free have joined Lee Greenwood and members of The United States Air Force Band for an extra-patriotic remake of “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Timed to coincide with perhaps the most challenging Fourth of July in modern history, the re-recorded version is updated with stunning multi-part harmony … and the soulful, all-for-one resolve of a nation with a pandemic to overcome. A new video of the song’s creation features studio footage of Greenwood, Home Free and the Air Force Band’s official chorus, The Singing Sergeants, showing just how much heart went into the project.
“Being able to sing a song that has inspired our nation for years is such an honor,” says Home Free’s Austin Brown in a press statement. “And then you add in the fact that we were able to do it not only with the original artist, but also The United States Air Force Band – such an incredible experience! I just hope it shines a little light into peoples’ days, like it has in mine.”
“How wonderful to sing with Home Free — such artistic singers,” Greenwood added. “I’ve never before enjoyed such freedom to be able to sing ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ — like you’ve never heard it. Thank you as well for the fantastic singers from the United States Air Force. They can really sing! Happy Independence Day, America.”
Speaking exclusively with Sounds Like Nashville, Home Free explain how they’ve been covering the red-white-and-blue staple for years — and that it’s actually the very first song the band arranged when they got started. But remaking a beloved classic alongside its original artist was something different.
“For years we would end every single show with ‘God Bless The U.S.A.,’ and every single time people would stand in appreciation. It’s really like a second national anthem,” says the band’s Rob Lundquist. “Normally when we go into the studio we are recording something new that we’ve never sang before, so it was nice this time knowing the song inside and out before we started recording. The morning I went to record my part, our producer sent out what Lee had sang and I listened to it on my way to the studio, and it gave me goosebumps. I felt the pressure of giving a solid performance after listening to him sing his face off!”
“We’ve been singing this song as long as Home Free has been in existence, so it felt really natural to take on another version,” Brown added. “That being said, no one is ever ready to be in the studio with an absolute legend.”
Brown and Tim Foust joined Greenwood in Nashville’s Castle Recording Studio for the song, while the others recorded their parts in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington D.C. According to Foust the whole project was inspired by one of The Singing Sergeants, and it definitely feels like revitalized for the times. But some things just get better with time.
“This entire project was actually the brainchild of my friend, Technical Sgt. Nadia Sosnoski, who sings the line ‘through the hills of Tennessee’,” he explains. “’God Bless the U.S.A.’ was actually the very first song that Home Free arranged two decades ago, so there’s something poetic about tangibly evolving while simultaneously coming around full-circle. Lee was so generous with his time and talents, and he laid down one of the best vocals I’ve ever heard. It was an absolutely joy to witness his discovery and exploration of a new sense of freedom within his own song.”