Ross Copperman has been busy in the studio for the past several months, co-writing songs with Kenny Chesney and Ed Sheeran, producing the recently-released debut album from BBR Music Group trio Runaway June, and taking part in the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp in Nashville.
But this songwriter-producer, who counts nearly 20 No. 1 hits, has also been working as an executive producer on a fun side project that welcomes some of Nashville’s talented youth performers to lend their voices to some of the most uplifting ‘90s country hits.
As the second installment of the Homegrown Kids series, Homegrown Kids: ‘90s Country features 10 of country music’s most well-known tracks, including the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” The Judds’ “Love Can Build a Bridge,” Garth Brooks’ “The River,” Martina McBride’s “Happy Girl,” Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” and more.
Dana Anderson (known for work on children’s music projects including VeggieTales, Songs for Worship and Getty Kids) and session singer/arranger David Wise produced the album, which released June 28.
“I wanted to do something for the parents to enjoy maybe on a long ride to the beach, you know? To hear [Joe Diffie’s] ‘John Deere Green’ and be like, ‘I haven’t heard that song forever,’” Copperman says. “And maybe the kids will sing along too, because it’s kids singing it. Everybody loves ’90s country and I thought it could be fun.”
They brought in a group of 10 youth singers from Nashville and the surrounding areas to perform the tracks. Some of the singers already have their own followings, such as Marisa McKaye, a featured vocalist on several tracks. McKaye released her first EP at age 12, and in 2017, she debuted as the youngest Song Suffragette at Nashville’s The Listening Room.
“I think there are so many kids on this project that will go on to be future stars, then it’s going to be cool for them to look back and go, ‘Oh yeah, I sang on that Homegrown Kids record when I was like 15.’” Copperman says.
Looking ahead to future installments of the Homegrown Kids series, Copperman muses the series could evolve into featuring original songs.
“Also, since the concept of albums is kind of starting to go away in general, I would love to just drop a song on streaming. Kids Bop already did ‘Old Town Road,” or else we would have done that. But I would love to do a version of Blanco Brown’s ‘The Git Up.’
“But my whole goal is I wanted these songs to have a positive message, and to give kids an outlet to get in a studio and sing on a record, just to get that experience so young. It’s about music education and having fun.”
Homegrown Kids Track Listing:
- “Wide Open Spaces” — (The Dixie Chicks: Susan Gibson)
- “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” — (Toby Keith: Toby Keith)
- “Meet in the Middle” — (Diamond Rio: Chapin Hartford, Jim Foster, Don Pfrimmer)
- “The River” — (Garth Brooks: Garth Brooks, Victoria Shaw)
- “John Deere Green” — (Joe Diffie: Dennis Linde)
- “Down on the Farm” — (Tim McGraw: Jerry Laseter, Kerry Kurt Phillips)
- “Heartland” — (George Strait: Steve Dorff, John Bettis)
- “Happy Girl” — (Martina McBride: Beth Nielsen Chapman, Annie Roboff)
- “Love Can Build a Bridge” — (The Judds: John Jarvis, Naomi Judd, Paul Overstreet)
- “Life’s a Dance” — (John Michael Montgomery: Allen Shamblin, Steve Seskin)
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