Country Stars Talk About Covering Elton John

A number of country music stars are celebrating the music of Elton John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin by covering some of their biggest hits for a collection titled Restoration.

Here’s what these artists had to say about Elton John’s influence.

Chris Stapleton: "The influence of Elton in the arc of my career, it's really, just always, kind of this omnipresent thing. My earliest childhood memories of hearing 'Crocodile Rock' or 'Carrying on Through' one listen time, where you hear Elton John sing on the radio or in movies, or you remember a video. I mean, there's all these points, so it would be tough to point to one thing and say where the specific influence would be, but it's all over. All over my life."

Vince Gill: "Throughout history there are so few times that those partnerships are as amazing as they are in Bernie and Elton. There are several instances, but not a lot. And the real testament is in the work. The reason longevity happens is because of the brilliancy of the work that's done, and same with Elton and Bernie. Just fantastic songs and that's the one thing, I don't think people really understand. That's the one thing that takes a great artist into a place of legendary proportion. It's amazing how those songs are the real defining difference in careers."

Little Big Town: "One of the main reasons why we chose 'Rocket Man' was because we were so intrigued by not just, of course, Elton John, but by using the sounds from the Juno project, so we had all these Jupiter noises. We were like what if we did the a capella version of 'Rocket Man' on the Elton record, and [producer] Frank Liddell loved that idea, and we were off to the races ... or Jupiter."

Kacey Musgraves: "I love Elton John and I really respect what he's done through his career, as far as remaining true to the music, to the songwriting, and his persona, is larger than life. He seems so humble and sweet and genuine, and I think anybody that manages to become an icon and a legend by being themselves is somebody that I really respect. Making it about the music, and not pandering to trends or whatever, throughout the years, it's just simply about the music, and I think that's really cool. Also, I'm the dime store cowgirl, he's a brown dirt cowboy, this couldn't be a better fit."

Brothers Osborne: "We're really stoked about being a part of the Restoration album, the Elton John tribute record. There are amazing artists on there, [and] we're honoured that they would even ask us to be a part of it. If you go back and listen to a lot of Elton's early material, it sounds like some grooving, almost like rock country tunes. 'Take Me to the Pilot' sounds like a song that we could have easily recorded. And, that's one thing that's inspiring about Elton, too, is that he kind of always reinvents himself and it doesn't get redundant. He has such as wide variety and ability, and that's why he's Elton John. There's something about 'Take Me to the Pilot.' We were listening to songs of Elton's that we thought would be great to do, and some of the songs that we were just big fans of, and we realized we probably weren't the best artist or band to recreate it. Then we listened to 'Take Me to the Pilot,' and we thought, 'Man, this is something that we would have just probably wanted to cover or record anyways regardless of it being on the Restoration project. And, so we did. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out."

Original article by Nicole Mastrogiannis at iHeartRadio