The Band of Heathens Re-imagine ‘America the Beautiful’ [LISTEN]
Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, the Band of Heathens have shared a re-imagined version of "America the Beautiful." Readers can press play below to hear the roots-y take on the iconic track.
The Band of Heathens based their version of "America the Beautiful" on Ray Charles' rendition of the American classic from his 1972 album A Message From the People. Charles' version of the song gained popularity a few years later, as the United States celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, and landed on the R&B charts.
"Ray saved for us his most powerful message and the perfect coda," say the Band of Heathens. "The definitive version of "America the Beautiful" is absolutely glorious. It is quite simply the apotheosis of soul."
The Americana band believes now is the time to remind people across the country that unity matters; therefore, they will release A Message From the People Revisited in September. As they did with "America the Beautiful," the Band of Heathens will add their own distinctive style to Charles' work through the complete re-recording of his project. The money earned from the recording will go towards a charity that champions social justice.
"It’s a great interpretation," says Quincy Jones, who arranged "America the Beautiful" for Charles, "and I admire their spirit to give it to charity."
Listen to the Band of Heathens' "America the Beautiful"