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Throwback Thursday: Carrie Underwood & Vince Gill, ‘How Great Thou Art’

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly series showcasing an album, single, music video or performance of a bygone era and its personal and/or cultural significance.

It’s rare to see the face of God, but when Carrie Underwood took the stage at the 2011 ACM Girls Night Out ceremony, little did we know that we would witness such a personal, raw and moving conversation between the country superstar and the Heavenly Father. She’s never been afraid or ashamed to wear her faith on her sleeve, especially in her music (see: “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Temporary Home,” “Something in the Water”), and her rendition of “How Great Thou Art” is one of country music’s most stunning moments and as close as you’ll ever get to experiencing true bliss on earth.

Vince Gill supplies supple background vocals and delicate guitar licks like only he can. Underwood takes your hand and beckons you to follow, as she delivers her greatest live performance to-date. When the song crescendos and she hits each and every power note with ease, your soul shakes, rattles and rolls from the waves of uncontrollable emotion falling from her mouth. “Take me home / What joy shall fill my heart,” she prayers. Even if you don’t have a faith or belief system of your own, you can’t help but be transfixed by Underwood’s willingness to lay it all out on the line.

Due to popular demand, the live performance, which became a viral hit at the time, was included on Underwood’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1 compilation, released back in 2014.

Sometimes, you just need to let the music do the talking. Relive the performance below:

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Jason Scott

Editor-in-Chief of the Badlands, spinning those B-Sides. Love Parks & Rec. Addicted to high-priced coffee drinks, alt-country and synth-pop, and never know when to quit. Got a cat named Jake--and she doesn't like you very much.