Band of Heathens are paying homage to two very different musical legends with their new cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads." Their version of one of John Denver's career-defining songs also borrows from Ray Charles.

Band of Heathens are preparing to release an ambitious new project on Sept. 14 that finds the band re-imagining Charles' 1972 album A Message From the People, on which he covered Denver's No. 2 hit from the previous year. Charles brought a very different vibe to Denver's hit, adding a gospel flair, and the Band of Heathens chose to split the difference in their new rendition, which debuts today exclusively with Taste of Country.

"The song is ubiquitous, so we wanted to make sure we could impart some of our style on the recording," singer-guitarist Ed Jurdi tells us. "We combined some of the acoustic elements and vocal harmonies of the original John Denver version with some of Ray Charles’ R&B and soul touches."

Jurdi says the song's famous chorus is central to its appeal, and the band members wanted to make sure they captured it in the right spirit.

"'Take Me Home, Country Roads' has a chorus that is pure solid gold. It's the type of song that I think people will be singing 100 years from now," he observes. "We all gathered around one microphone in the studio and sang the chorus in unison, really getting into the spirit and celebration of the song."

The Heathens' new take on Charles' work is appropriately titled A Message From the People Revisited, and they deliberately chose to address his mostly-forgotten album due to its themes of social justice and abuse of power, as well as Charles' vision for a stronger, more unified America. In that spirit, they are donating a portion of the proceeds from the album to Rock the Vote.

A Message From the People Revisited is currently available for pre-order via Apple Music, with physical copies available for pre-order at the band's online store.

Listen to Band of Heathens, "Take Me Home, Country Roads"

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