When Jesse Tack's boss came to him in January and asked him to try and blend Carrie Underwood's cover of Randy Travis' 1988 hit "I Told You So" — from her 2007 Carnival Ride album — with the original, Tack never imagined that his creation would lead to an "American Idol" moment.
But there it was Wednesday night (March 18) on the "Idol" stage, where Underwood and Travis got together for the live debut of the recently recorded, official version of the duet. And Tack couldn't have been prouder.
Soon after Underwood's single version of "I Told You So" dropped in early January, Tack, 26, who works the 7 p.m.-to-midnight shift at Cincinnati country station WUBE-FM (B105.1), got a request from his program director to work on a mash-up. Six hours later, Tack emerged with a blend of the two songs that was seamless, combining Travis' low-register vocals to Underwood's higher voice on the chorus.
The song was an instant hit on the station when it debuted on January 14, and when country music consultant Jaye Albright got her hands on it, she sent it out to 75 other stations she works with. "After I put it together in the studio, within five seconds I thought, 'This is going to be something special,' " said the Iowa-born Tack, whose identical-twin brother, Joey Tack, is a hip-hop radio DJ in Tennessee.
The phones at 'UBE lit up instantly. Tack said he began getting calls from all over the country every night from listeners and DJs praising his work and asking for copies. To date, the YouTube video he created has gotten nearly 100,000 views, but the biggest compliment was when Tack found out the country superstars would be performing the song on "Idol" and had recorded an official version.
He hasn't heard from either artist so far about his grassroots experiment, but Tack can't help but feel like he helped get the ball rolling. "My hope was that they would record it as a duet, and they have," he said on Tuesday. Tack said he was going to be stuck at work when the show aired, but he would definitely take a break to tune in and that he'd be recording it at home, where he suspected he would probably watch it a "couple hundred" times.
"There will be a bit part of me thinking, 'C'mon, they wouldn't have done this because of some little station in Cincinnati doing a version,' " he said. "But then I'll think back to the hundreds and hundreds of e-mails I've gotten, and I have to think that some of those stations playing it have to have talked to the labels and asked about an official remix or duet.
"It will be unbelievable," Tack said of seeing the his outlaw creation's official spawn, which will be made available for download right after the show and debut on country radio next week. "I'll have to wonder if I had not put that together, would they be singing it onstage?"
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