Rockin' the Country with Joe Don Rooney: Combining Diverse Stylistic Elements, and My Take on “Life Is a Highway”

These videos are bonus content related to the February 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

This month I’d like to talk about my playing on “Life Is a Highway,” Rascal Flatts’ cover of a song written by Tom Cochrane that we recorded in 2006 for the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars.

Previously released as a single by Cochrane in 1991, the song was already a big crossover hit, and it proved to be a perfect match for this all-ages movie, as it combines a positive message with a catchy country-flavored melody, a soulful uptempo rhythmic groove and some chunky rock rhythm guitar parts, onto which I put my own stamp and some country-rock-style leads. Our version of the song become one of our biggest hits, and it remains a concert fan favorite.

One of the things I love about “Life Is a Highway” is its swing-16ths feel, which is comparable to that of the classic Van Halen song “Beautiful Girls” and just makes you want to start bobbing your head and tapping your foot.

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