Steep Canyon Rangers and Boyz II Men Mix It Up on ‘Be Still Moses’

We sure didn't see this one coming!

Written by Chris Parton
Steep Canyon Rangers and Boyz II Men Mix It Up on ‘Be Still Moses’
Steep Canyon Rangers, Photo credit: David Simchock; Boyz II Men, Photo credit: Debby Wong

It’s fairly common to hear country mixed with R&B nowadays, but how about bluegrass and R&B … plus an orchestral symphony? That’s the fascinating idea behind the Steep Canyon Rangers new collaboration with Boyz II Men — and the Asheville Symphony — on “Be Still Moses.”

Conceived by the Rangers’ producer Michael Selverne, the band’s gospel-inflected standout gets about 50 more layers of soul with this remix. The relaxing Appalachian flavor of the multi-Grammy winning band fuses with reverent vocals from the ’90s superstars, plus the epic scope of a full orchestra behind them. Each of the main artists are getting used to unusual collaborations by now, as the Rangers famously work with comedian Steve Martin and Boyz II Men landed on CMT Crossroads with Brett Young this year, but they say “Be Still Moses” still feels special.

“We always get this chill when we know we are in the right place,” Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman explains. “And we got a few chills working on this project.”

“Sometimes it takes a person outside the band to hear your music in a different light and recognize its potential,” the Rangers’ Graham Sharp says, who also spoke with Billboard about the track. “I give credit to our producer Michael Selverne and to [musical director] Michael Bearden for their vision of bringing together two very different musical worlds for a moment that transcends any genre designation. Boyz II Men took the song to a whole new level, and as a songwriter it’s mind-blowing to hear.”

“Be Still Moses” first appeared on the Steep Canyon Rangers 2007 album, Lovin’ Pretty Women. The band has topped Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums chart six times — including with their most recent release, 2018’s Out In the Open — and just signed a new record deal with Yep Roc. They’re on tour with dates stretching into 2020, including an appearance at bluegrass-lover Dierks Bentley’s Seven Peaks Festival in Buena Vista, Colorado, August 31.

Meanwhile, Boys II Men continue to perform as well, with dates lined up until the end of the year including a months-long Las Vegas residency set to begin October 25.