By Mya Byrne, Staff Writer
We love country duets, and we love holiday music, and you know we love gay country artists. So when we learned that out artist Ty Herndon has teamed up with award-winning actor Kristin Chenoweth to record a duet, “Orphans of God,” we were stoked.
The song, off Herndon’s upcoming holiday album, “Regifted,” was originally released by Christian band Avalon. When he first heard it, the song spoke deeply to Herndon, and he recruited Chenowith and pianist Paul Cardall to put their stamp on it. It’s a fabulous collaboration from an unexpected team, and you can feel the emotion coming out of your speakers.
We asked Herndon about “Orphans of God.” “I’m so proud of this song and the people I was able to work with to make it happen,” he told us. “It’s exactly the message our country needs right now, and my hope is that it can inspire, uplift, and heal those who may be hurting in any way as we head into this holiday season.”
“It’s more important now than it has ever been to remember that we are all created equally and that God loves us all,” said Herndon.
Chenowith says, “To sing with Ty Herndon was a dream. I hope as you listen to the song, you hear the words, and they speak to your heart.”
“Ever since receiving a donor’s heart, it’s been my life’s work to use music to help heal the hearts of others, which is why I’m excited to join with my friends Ty Herndon and Kristin Chenoweth in echoing an important message through this song — a truth that there are no orphans of God,” said Cardall.
Original members of Avalon guest on the song as backing vocalists, and the production is a holiday cornucopia of modern country sounds, classic ballad bombast, and breathtaking vocal swells, all in service of fantastic songwriting, with a chorus so moving and inclusive: “There are no strangers, there are no outcasts / there are no orphans of god”.
It’s a gorgeous message in such a hard time. And the implications of Herndon, one of the most outspoken queer people in popular music, let alone country, revamping a Christian song to speak to a broader audience, is a huge deal – and subversive in all the best ways.
“Orphans of God” is out now on all streaming platforms. We can’t wait to review the full album.