ABC/Image Group LAHaving already done half a dozen benefits to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Keith Urban confesses it’s more than his belief in the cause that keeps him and his cohort Vince Gill coming back year after year.
“Vinnie and I love doing it for the same reasons,” the “Wasted Time” singer says. “I mean, we raise a lot of money for the Hall, we raise a lot of awareness for the Hall and what they do. But, yeah, Vinnie and I get to play guitar for everybody, so you know, it’s two guitar players — it’s a lot of fun!”
This year’s All for the Hall concert is titled Mashville: The Music City in 2016, and with a talent roster that features everyone from rock gods to ultra-traditionalists to the ultra-progressive, Vince and Keith can be sure they’ll always be on their toes.
“We get to sit in with everybody. It’s such a diverse lineup this year,” Keith observes. “It’s celebrating the diversity of Nashville, which is why it’s called Mashville, and everybody is here. I mean, everyone lives in town, from Emmylou Harris to Peter [Frampton] to Sam Hunt to Jason Isbell to Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, everybody. It’s so eclectic!”
Keith believes it’s the laid-back atmosphere of these shows that helps make them so special.
“I mean as much as we rehearse and everything else, there’s still an incredible amount of spontaneity and looseness to this show, which for me is an important part of All for the Hall. It’s meant to be much more organic. It’s not slick. It’s not hyper-produced. It’s a very loose, organic affair, and I think the people get to see something that they never see anywhere else because of that.”
Our most substantial peek at Tuesday night’s set list comes as Keith reveals the impact Merle Haggard’s passing last week has had on the gathering.
“We’re celebrating the diversity by everyone doing one of their own songs and in a lot of cases they’ve chosen somebody else’s songs. Certainly this year, there’s a few people doing Merle Haggard songs. We’re gonna do a big tribute at the end of the night, so it’ll be a fun night for us.”
Keith revealed he was particularly pleased to find out Sam Hunt is one of the people who’ll be performing a Haggard song. The 2016 benefit starts at 7:30 p.m. CT at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
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