Heavy Metal’s DevilDriver Helming Expansive Outlaw Country Tribute Record

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What started out to be the idea for a heavy metal album of Outlaw country covers by DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara has apparently turned into a monster project that may include dozens of songs and as many as 25 guest appearances. A project long rumored from the band, Dez Fafara says he started reaching out to folks in the metal world who may want to contribute, and he received such an overwhelming reception, the project has taken on a life of its own.

Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Lee Ving from the band Fear, and Chuck Billy from Testament are some of the names said to be involved with the project, with many other contributors being kept under wraps at the moment. Though the album was originally due to be released this fall, it won’t likely be released until next year due to the amount of contributions.

“If you go to a metal concert you hear country. So the guys outside my bus that are sitting there having a barbecue before the show, I’m listening to them and they are listening to everything from Black Sabbath to Johnny Cash,” says Dez Fafara of DevilDriver. “It’s just a very natural progression. If you go on any tour bus in the United States, a metal tour bus, you are definitely going to hear outlaw country.

“There is some kind of form of respect that artists that did their thing that weren’t pop country, that did their thing in their own time and branded themselves as heavy artists. Just like heavy metal, blues and punk rock is very underground, those outlaw artists were very underground as well. So there is a very good mutual form of respect there. So it is a natural progression.”

Though the songs will be country, the approach to most of the songs will be metal. But Dez Fafara also says there may be contributors from other genres as well, including country. Though not directly tied to the project yet, Fafara mentioned John Carter Cash and Jamey Johnson as examples of people from the country world who also have an appreciation for heavy metal as well.

“It’s important to get the people that are on this thing to actually feel it,” says Dez Fafara. “So we’ve got people from the outlaw country genre. We’ve got people from the metal genres. We’ve got people from the punk rock genre. And all these people that are onboard are feeling what we’re doing … But the words, the lyrics of outlaw country… I want you to find anybody that can deliver a heavier lyric than, ‘I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die,’ by Johnny Cash. You’re not going to find me another heavier lyric like that either it be in heavy metal or punk rock. And those lyrics are so poignant.”

No official word on a title or release date for the project.