OFFSTAGE: Kristin Chenoweth, Tommy Shaw Give Country a Try

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I have this love/hate thing with stars who try their hand at country. Some days, I hate it. I want country success to come to those whose love of the genre has been all they’ve ever known. But then other days, like today, I think, “Why the hell not?” Who can blame anyone for wanting to get in on the best kind of music there is? So welcome, actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth. I know about your credits on Broadway, film and TV, and I sincerely can’t wait to hear the pop-country album you’ve made because I loved you when you sang Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” on Glee. And welcome Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw. You have a bluegrass album coming out, and I know I’m going to like it because you told Billboard magazine, “Bluegrass is just like an old friend” and that “I wish I could go back in time and become a bluegrass player who’s been playing for 30 years.” I’d wish that, too, if it hadn’t been for all those Styx songs that had such an indelible impact on my youth, like “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”. If he played bluegrass covers of those, in fact, I’d be his biggest fan.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.