Rosanne Cash and Lori McKenna, along with Sheryl Crow and folk artists Josh Ritter and Anais Mitchell, join singer-songwriter Mark Erelli to deliver a powerful anti-gun violence message on his new song "By Degrees." Readers can press play above to hear the sobering lyrics.

Cash calls Erelli's "By Degrees" “the most compassionate, vivid and non-preaching anti-gun violence song I’ve ever heard" (quote via Rolling Stone Country). The outspoken advocate of stricter gun control opens the first verse of the collaboration: "When I take a look around me / Sometimes I wish I was blind / Feels like something sacred's dying / One headline at a time / I can't tear myself away / I just stare in disbelief / You can learn to live with anything / It happens by degrees."

Erelli is a prolific songwriter who has produced two albums for McKenna and appeared with her on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul Tour back in 2007. He's provided guitar accompaniment for a number of folk and country artists and has released more than a dozen albums of his own since the late 1990s.

“I’ll never forget the first time Mark played this remarkable song for me,” McKenna tells Rolling Stone Country. “It stops you in your tracks and unsettles your spirit at the same time ... This song is an awakening I wish we didn’t need, but we so surely do.”

"By Degrees" will be officially released on Friday (Oct. 19) and will be available at ByDegreesSong.com; all proceeds will support Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, a foundation started by Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was a victim of a shooting at a speaking engagement in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011. Six people were killed and 13 people -- including Giffords -- were wounded during that event.

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