David Frizzell Joins ‘The Voice’ Standout Mary Sarah to Bring New Life to a Country Classic [Exclusive Premiere]
As a young girl, Season 10 finalist of The Voice Mary Sarah would spend hours singing with her dad, taking their respective parts on the country music classic “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma.”
“I actually grew up singing that song,” Mary Sarah remembers in a new interview with Taste of Country. “It’s a song that has been in my life since I was 10 years old.”
But little did the stunner with the traditional country voice know that one day, she would be the one singing alongside the man who made the song so unforgettable — David Frizzell himself.
“It’s so cool when life goes full circle like this,” Mary Sarah reflects on the song that the Grammy-nominated country music hitmaker released alongside duet partner Shelly West in 1980.
In honor of the song’s 40th anniversary, Frizzell has now teamed up with Mary Sarah for a new version of the old classic. A new acoustic version of the song premieres Friday (April 16) via Taste of Country.
“I’ve always loved that song, but now I think I extra love it,” Frizzell says with a laugh during an interview about “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma,” which appeared on the soundtrack for Clint Eastwood’s film Any Which Way You Can and reached the top of the country charts in 1981. “I just can’t stop listening to it. It was such an amazing experience to do it with Mary Sarah.”
The idea to utilize the song to bridge the country music generations in this way came early last year, when Frizzell and Mary Sarah performed on the same stage, and instantly became intrigued with the idea of recreating the country classic.
“I heard her sing, and I was just like, ‘You and I have to do something together, you are just amazing,'" Frizzell remembers.
And so, they did. Soon the two were in the studio together, ready to lay the track down for the first time but still secretly wondering if their voices would meld together.
“I never do a song the same way twice,” Frizzell admits with another laugh. “But she absolutely joined me wherever I went vocally. She melded right into my voice. We took the song and upped the tempo just a bit, but we didn’t take the love of the original out of it. Instead, we brought it with us. Yes, the song had a different feel, but it had the love that the original song had.”
And everyone could feel it.
“The whole vibe in the room was so good,” remembers Mary Sarah, who gave birth to her first child this past January. “In fact, all of us in that room that day were just so honored to be there to recreate this song. We all understood the power that the song has had in the country music industry and David's career. We just appreciated it so much that we were able to be a part of it.”
Mary Sarah also seems overjoyed at the opportunity to bring the country music classic and iconic duet to a whole new generation of country music lovers, some of whom might have never even heard the familiar melody of “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma.”.
“It’s sort of similar to what I did with Bridges,” she says of her 2020 album that she recorded when she was just 15 years old with legends including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker. “It’s all about bridging the gap and bringing light to these songs that have really paved a path for all of us. This song has lasted so many years. There are so many songs these days that are just overnight successes that you don’t ever hear again. But this one stood the test of time, and that says something.”
“Mary Sarah could have over sung or tried to outperform the original, but she didn’t,” Frizzell gushes. “She kept it just right.”
And Frizzell’s voice? Well, at 79 years old, there is a solid argument that he has never sounded better.
“There are just these nuances in his voice that have come out over the years singing this song, and I would say, he sounds even better now than in the original,” Mary Sarah concludes. “I was completely blown away.”
See Country Music's 50 Greatest Love Songs: