NASHVILLE (Billboard) - More than 60 country and contemporary Christian artists gathered Tuesday night in a Nashville studio to record "America The Beautiful
" under the guidance of producers Tony Brown of MCA Nashville and James
Stroud of DreamWorks. Among the participating artists were Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Lonestar, Keith Urban, Billy Dean, Jaci Velasquez, Avalon, Mark Miller, Trace Adkins, Brenda Lee
and Martina McBride, among others. The event was orchestrated by renowned television producer Norman Lear, who purchased one of the surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence about a year ago at a Sothebys Internet
auction. On July 4, 11 actors, including Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Morgan
Spacey and Kathy Bates, will read the document at a Philadelphia event.
That event, which will air as a live special on ABC, will also feature performances from Garth Brooks, Jill Scott and Blue Man Group. Lear says footage from the Nashville recording session will be used on the ABC special, or the network's "Good Morning America," or both. Lear says plans call for every Nashville label to have a hand in taking the song to radio for airplay in the days leading up to the July 4 event.