Christian rocker Zach Williams teamed with country music icon Dolly Parton to release “There Was Jesus” in October, 2019. The song has been out for a while, but it’s finally gained enough steam to take the #1 spot on Billboard’s Christian AC Songs, not to be confused with Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs, where Lauren Daigle still reigns supreme.
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The Christian Post reports that this is the first time that Parton’s voice has appeared on a song that has reached #1 on the Christian Adult Contemporary chart. While Parton is no stranger to success, with 25 #1 hits over the course of her 64-year career, she told Billboard that she was particularly touched by this honor. She said:
“Having a No. 1 record at any time is a great thing, but having a No. 1 faith-based record during these crazy times is even greater,” Parton tells Billboard. “I feel humbled and blessed to be part of this wonderful song with Zach Williams. It does my heart good to know that we have touched the lives of so many people.” “I don’t even know hardly what to say about all the No. 1s in all the different fields of music,” Parton continued. “Thank you, God, thank you, fans and thank you, everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible.”
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The tune, written by Williams along with award-winning songwriters Casey Beathard and Jonathan Smith, is a lovely Christian anthem that sounds like it was written for arena performances. Williams’ slight rasp is complemented by the crystal clarity of Parton’s famous timbre, set to really pretty harmonies between the two.
According to Dolly Parton’s website, Williams said he knew he wanted Parton to sing with him from the very moment he finished writing the song. Zach said of Parton:
“It was a really cool moment, just to have the privilege to record a song with Dolly Parton. Working with Dolly was a true honor. She has a way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room. She is so down-to-earth and genuine, and I can’t wait for people to hear that in the song.”
“There Was Jesus” is the second single from Williams’ 2019 album, Rescue Story. Listen to the full album below.