The eighth All for the Hall, hosted by Keith Urban and Vince Gill, is officially history. The star-studded show, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, featured performances by Urban and Gill, along with Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Old Dominion, HARDY and more, raising more than $900,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
This year’s theme was The Song Remembers When, with each artist performing one of their own songs, along with a song from another artist that meant something to them.
Urban kicked off the show by performing his own “Wild Hearts,” “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and “Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys).”
“It’s kind of like the vibe of a back porch picking session,” Urban told the crowd, adding that he was recovering from the “most wretched flu” the week before. “It’s loose. It’s loose is what I’m saying. So if you guys want to feel the same way out there, if you want to sing, dance, sit, stand, drink, whatever the hell you want to do tonight, Nashville, this is your night.”
Urban also explained why he chose The Song Remembers When as this year’s theme.
“A lot of us artists, we hear stories from you guys and meet and greets in various places, where you tell us stories about how our songs have affected you, and what memories you may have from some of our songs,” Urban shared. “But I think sometimes you forget that we have the same kind of feelings about other people’s songs. And I thought it’d be nice tonight to hear some of those stories from these artists’ songs that conjure up a memory, takes them back to a certain time.”
Gill followed Urban, playing his own “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away” and “Rocky Mountain Way,” the latter a song by the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, released in 1973 as part of Walsh’s Barnstorm band.
“For the last seven years, I’ve been working with this band called the Eagles,” Gill said. “I tell everybody it’s taken me 60 years to get a good gig. I’ve had the time of my life. One of the reasons I love doing it so much is because of the great Joe Walsh. He might be America’s most important rock and roll guitar players in history. I’ve had the privilege of getting to play this song with him every night for the last seven years.
“Why I wanted to do it tonight is when I was about a 13 or 14-year-old kid in my room in Oklahoma, trying to learn how to play the guitar, this song right here was one of the first songs I ever learned, by the great Joe Walsh,” he added.
Brenda Lee was the surprise performer of the evening, performing her iconic “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The song, first released in 1958, just became a No. 1 hit for the 78-year-old.
The Country Music Hall of Fame is offering a pay-what-you-want admission for locals, now through January 31. Find more information at CountryMusicHallofFame.org.
Photo Credit: Jason Kempin and John Shearer/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum