Country Rewind: Carrie Underwood Helps Ray Benson and Others Pay Tribute to Bob Wills’ ‘New San Antonio Rose’

Carrie Underwood

The 49th annual Grammy Awards, which aired live on Feb. 11, 2007 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, included a classic example of how Carrie Underwood’s range as a vocalist and on-stage performer suits just about any country song from any era. That night, she joined Country Music Hall of Fame fiddler Johnny Gimble and Asleep at the Wheel co-founder Ray Benson in a musical tribute to Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys.

Underwood belted out “New San Antonio Rose,” which is the Wills instrumental “San Antonio Rose” with lyrics, on a night when Oklahoma and Texas superstars joined forces to honor an early influencer.

“New San Antonio Rose” became a crossover hit when Bing Crosby covered it in 1940, selling a million copies and earning Crosby a gold disc. The song has been recorded by such legendary country singers as Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Dwight Yoakam, among many others.

Back in Feb. 2007, Underwood was less than two years removed from her American Idol victory. Her Grammy performance teamed her with country royalty for one of the first times while previewing the on-screen prowess she’d show a year later during her first of 11 straight CMA Awards hosting gigs alongside fellow country music star Brad Paisley.

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Underwood’s Wills tribute began a three-song medley, with the next two songs paying homage to The Eagles’ Don Henley. For that portion of her performance, she sang “Desperado” before being joined by Rascal Flatts for a rendition of “Life in the Fast Lane.”

Underwood won two Grammys that night: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” She shared her spotlight with the Dixie Chicks, as this was the same night that the trio won five Grammys for the album Taking the Long Way and the song “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

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