Shenandoah taps Southern rock mainstay Charlie Daniels for "Freebird in the Wind," a new tribute song to the lives and legacies of the Lynyrd Skynyrd members who died in an infamous 1977 plane crash. Press play above to listen!

Just days after the 42nd anniversary of the October 20, 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of six Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, the new song recalls the story of the tragedy. Daniels lends gravity to the beginning of the track, reciting a poem that is etched into a stone bench beside Van Zant's grave. Meanwhile, the music video shows a montage of old footage of Skynyrd from the '70s, interspersed with clips of Daniels and Shenandoah recording "Freebird in the Wind."

"Everyone knows Charlie Daniels plays a pivotal role in the southern rock genre," says Shenandoah singer Marty Raybon in a press release. "He also has a friendship with Lynyrd Skynyrd that goes back nearly four decades, including a close relationship with Ronnie [Van Zant] before he passed away. With the connection he has to the history behind the song, we felt he would be perfect to have on this record, and we were honored when he said yes."

Shenandoah recorded the song at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Ala. The studio is familiar stomping grounds for the duo, who hail from the area, as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd, who cut early recordings there.

Raybon goes on to say that the first time he heard "Freebird in the Wind," it struck him as a powerful tribute not only to the musicians' untimely deaths, but to the legacy of love and friendship they left behind.

"Not that they were in a plane crash, and not that one of the most gifted songwriters and vocalists in southern rock had been killed, but the love for who and what they were had not died," he explains. "We recorded this song not to gain from it, but to pay our respect to them."

Nelson Blanchard and Scott Inness co-wrote "Freebird in the Wind" after Inness paid a 2018 visit to the crash site and spoke with two first responders surrounding the tragedy's 41st anniversary. "We even played the demo to drummer Artimus Pyle who survived the crash, and he cried," Inness adds. "We truly feel we captured the story in a song."

All proceeds from "Freebird in the Wind" will go directly to the group's official charity, Lynyrd Skynyrd Foundation.

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