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Levi Hummon and Runaway June Revive ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’

The Dixie Chicks classic celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Written by Chris Parton
Levi Hummon and Runaway June Revive ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’
Levi Hummon; Photo credit: CeCe Dawson; Runaway June; Photo credit: Gregg Roth

Some of country’s newest faces have put their own spin on a ’90s classic, with Levi Hummon and Runaway June teaming to freshen up the Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away.”

A faithful throwback to one of the legendary trio’s most enduring hits, the satisfying cover might seem like just a cheap way to score points with fans. But in truth, that’s not the case at all. Hummon actually has a deep personal connection to “Cowboy Take Me Away,” as his father Marcus co-wrote the breezy love letter with the Chicks’ Martie Maguire.

It was originally written for the wedding of Maguire’s sister and fellow Dixie Chick, Emily, and ended up on the band’s sophomore album, Fly — which was released 20 years ago this August. To celebrate the anniversary, Hummon enlisted a harmony-focused trio baring a striking sonic resemblance to the Dixie Chicks — Runaway June’s Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne and Hannah Mulholland.

“[I’m] so proud of this record,” Hummon tells Sounds Like Nashville. “This song is a family heirloom and I’m just so thankful that Runaway June put their beautiful voices on this track. I grew up hearing my dad sing his version at writer’s rounds, then later singing it with him at rounds, and it just feels full circle to put my own spin on this song on the 20th anniversary of its initial release.”

Other than the addition of Hummon’s tender vocal and some slightly different instrumentation, the new version stays close to the original’s rootsy sound. Lilting mandolin and waves of three-part harmony bring to mind wind-swept prairies and young lovers riding off into the sunset, with Runaway June perfectly re-capturing the golden-hour spirit of the song.

But despite the similarities, Runaway June are certainly not a Dixie Chicks cover band, and lately fans have begun to get properly acquainted. After appearing on Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360 this summer, they recently became the first female trio to hit country radio’s Top 5 since 2003 with “Buy My Own Drinks.” The last trio to do so? The Dixie Chicks, of course. They’ll appear on this year’s CMA Awards to perform a mysterious country classic.

Hummon’s latest single is the cross-country romantic, “State I’m In,” and the Dixie Chicks are said to be working on a brand new album.