Exactly four months after teasing a collaboration on Instagram, Billy Strings and Luke Combs on Monday shared a collaborative single, “The Great Divide”. The song comes as the first joint effort between the country powerhouse and the bluegrass phenom, combining Combs’ potent lyricism with Strings’ picking prowess.
“The Great Divide” comes as a calming call for unity as Combs takes lead vocals while Strings adds his evocative banjo phrasings in the background. “We’re all so far, so far apart now / It’s as deep as it is wide / We’re about to fall apart now / If we can’t reach the other side / We gotta find a way across the great divide,” Combs sings in the chorus. For his part, an instrumental banjo bridge allows Strings to put his own stamp on the track.
Combs said of the song in a statement,
Something that I’ve always wanted to do is write and put out a bluegrass album. This is a song that was supposed to be a part of that project. It’s not a lead single or a lead-in to that project yet, because that is not done. But it felt like the right time to put this song out. When we wrote it, there were a lot of crazy things going on in the world. There’s still a lot of crazy things going on in the world. And I just felt like I had some stuff to say. It’s not meant to be political. It’s not meant to try and tell you what to think or tell you how to believe. That’s not my job. It’s just a guy kinda saying the way he was feeling when he wrote it.
This song is our interpretation of the conflicts and tension we had been witnessing/experiencing around the time we wrote it. We wanted to shine a little light on the situation and offer a bit of hope during what has been a tough time for many.
This collaborative effort comes as the latest for Combs who has recently released tracks with Eric Church, Brooks & Dunn, and Amanda Shires. As for Strings, his cooperation with other artists usually comes in a live setting, like so many guest sit-ins throughout his touring days. With the exception of his Streaming Strings series from over the summer, however, that spirit of onstage collaboration has been largely lacking in Strings’ life. Given the poignant output between Strings and Combs on a single like “The Great Divide”, here’s hoping for plenty more joint efforts between the guitarist and musicians from far and wide.
Listen to Billy Strings and Luke Combs’ new joint single, “The Great Divide”.
Billy Strings, Luke Combs – “The Great Divide”
[Video: Luke Combs]
This latest single comes as Strings prepares for The Déjà Vu Experiment run of livestreams from The Capitol Theatre later this month. The six-night run of concerts will see Strings and his eponymous band commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead‘s legendary run of concerts at the famed Port Chester, NY venue. During those shows, the band enlisted the audience in an extrasensory perception (ESP) experiment to test their ability to transmit images via brainwaves to a sleeping test subject across town. While the experiment was ultimately unsuccessful, it added yet another layer to the band’s mythical lore. Livestream tickets are available here.