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There was a mutual admiration society Saturday at Starstruck Studios when Justin Timberlake sang with Reba McEntire on the song he co-wrote for her upcoming duets album.
“I think everybody will be surprised by the song we did,” says producer Tony Brown. “I know Reba and I were surprised when he pitched us the song in Los Angeles.”
Justin penned “The Only Promise that Remains” with good friend Matt Morris, our own phenomenally talented singer/songwriter (Christina Aguilera has cut his stuff) who is the son of country crooner Gary Morris. Brown describes it as a Celtic love song.
“It was all very organic, with a dobro and fiddle, upright bass and two acoustic guitars,” he says. “It was a really beautiful folk song.”
Justin performed Friday night at Nashville Arena but had plenty of energy left for his vocal performance the next day.
“He is just a great singer,” Tony says. “You know that he must be to do all the things he’s done. You don’t realize it until you see him sing and help Reba work on the melody. He not only sang but co-produced it with Reba and me.”
Justin’s gifts as a piano and guitar player and songwriter also impressed the producer. He says Justin was just as impressed with Reba.
“He was totally blown away by her,” he says. “Every time she would do one of her Reba stylistic licks, he would go crazy.”
Reba recorded with Trisha Yearwood on Wednesday, Kelly Clarkson on Thursday and Rascal Flatts on Friday. “It was quite a week,” Tony says.