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Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Paul Simon and Carrie Underwood Give It Their All for the Hall in NYC

Pictured are (l-r): Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, and Vince Gill. Photo by Rick Diamond, Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Photo by Rick Diamond, Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

An all-star lineup, reaching across generations and genres, drew a rousing response from a sold-out PlayStationTheater audience during a stylish All for the Hall fundraising concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on October 6.
The stripped-down acoustic performances focused attention on the artistry of songwriting and singing—talents delivered with grace and power by the lineup of Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Paul Simon and Carrie Underwood.

“The magic of these nights is the diversity that winds up onstage,” said Gill, who co-hosted the evening with Harris. “It’s not just about hits and what’s going on in country music at the moment. It’s so healthy that we’re open-minded and welcome to all things. It’s good that we’re all different.”

Kyle Young, the museum’s chief executive officer, pointed out that the evening’s performers had won a total of 56 Grammy Awards.

“That should tell you everything you need to know,” he said, “about the caliber of artists who are volunteering their time tonight.”

The concert was modeled on the Nashville institution of a “guitar pull,” a casual set-up in which performers take turns presenting songs while the others look on, at times adding harmony or instrumentation. The format encourages relaxed interaction between performers, and the artists on this night mixed jokes, jibes and from-the-heart comments. Paisley often took guitar solos on Gill’s songs, and Gill offered solos on Paisley’s songs, focusing on sharing their mutual talents. Gill, Harris and Underwood often added harmonies to songs by others.

Paisley heralded the guitar-pull tradition, noting that on any given night in Nashville, several clubs will feature songwriters sitting on stools next to each other and performing their songs.

Simon added that while New York musicians did have a community feel, they weren’t as open to revealing themselves and their work with each other in the way Nashville artists are.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: (L-R) Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Paul Simon perform onstage at The Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum All For The Hall New York Benefit Concert at PlayStation Theater on October 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame)

Every other performer mentioned what an honor it was to be part of a show with Paul Simon, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist and as a member of Simon & Garfunkel.

“It truly is one of the greatest thrills of my life to share a stage with this fella,” Gill said in introducing Simon. “He is one of the greatest American songwriters of all time.”

Later, Gill said it was “a bucket list moment” after performing the guitar solo on Simon’s “The Boxer,” an instrumental part originally created by the late Nashville session great Fred Carter.

Simon also performed “Sounds of Silence” and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” a song about New York, he noted. Simon also said he agreed to perform without realizing his beloved New York Yankees would be in a playoff game that night. He then asked for the score and grimaced when told his team was behind at the moment.

Simon also spoke of the time he visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the past, with Harris as his guide.

“I thought it was an extraordinary treasure trove of American history,” Simon said. “I’m pleased and honored to be able to be a participant tonight.”

Paisley noted that he felt “completely out of my element” being onstage with so many of his musical idols, after wisecracking that he had dreamed of this moment in the past, “except that in the dream I’m completely naked.”

Underwood began by saying she felt

“equal parts nervous and honored to be on this stage tonight.” Singing with just an acoustic guitar made her “feel exposed,” she said, adding with a laugh, “Not the underwear type of exposed, but musically exposed.”

She and her guitarist, Shawn Tubbs, then performed her current hit, “Smoke Break”—the first time Underwood ever performed it in such an instrumentally bare manner.

All of the artists spoke about the power of songs to move and motivate people—and underlined the importance of music education in public schools. Harris emphasized how music helps open the minds of schoolkids and has been proven to stimulate brain activity, making it just as important as other academic disciplines.

Underwood told of how music classes and choir practice made her excited about going to school. She did well in other areas, she said, but it was music education that made her eager to attend classes each day.

The concert didn’t feature a set list. The performers decided what to sing on the spur of the moment, inspired by what someone else had played or by the mood they were in when their turn came. As Gill noted, guitar pulls traditionally aren’t just an artist or songwriter performing their biggest hits. It’s also a chance to show off new material, or, in this evening’s case, pull out a favorite cover song, as Simon did when ending the show with the Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved,” with Gill on high harmony—and the rest of the artists eventually joining in.

Both Harris and Paisley honored recently deceased heroes of theirs. Harris opened with her rendition of Jesse Winchester’s “My Songbird,” which she had recorded in 1978 on her album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. Paisley included a verse and chorus of Country Music Hall of Fame member Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Country Boy” before going into his own hit “Southern Comfort Zone.”

all for the hall 3

The evening’s first standing ovation came for a group of sixth graders from the Pelham Gardens Middle School in the Bronx. Songwriter Liz Rose (“White Horse,” “You Belong with Me,” “Girl Crush”) worked with students from the school to create an original song using lyrics the students wrote. Armed with guitars and ukuleles, and with songwriter-guitarist Phil Barton helping out, the students and Rose sang the upbeat “Everybody’s Perfect,” delighting the loudly cheering crowd.

The song represented the museum’s long-running Words & Music program, which pairs professional songwriters with students, giving them a chance to express themselves while learning about the process of songwriting. With partners Education Through Music, a New York-based non-profit, the museum will work with several other New York schools through the 2015-2016 school year.

The proceeds of the All for the Hall New York concert will be earmarked for the museum’s education department, which interacted with more than 160,000 people in 2014. Between ticket sales and a spirited live auction, the event netted more than $150,000 and demonstrated the national and international reach of the Museum and its award-winning educational programs.

Emmylou Harris & Lucinda Williams Join Rosanne Cash for Night Two of Residency at Country Music Hall of Fame

Roseanne Cash

The lives and careers of Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Lucinda Williams have intersected for decades. But the three veterans had never shared a stage before—until last week (Sept. 3, 2015).

Cash recruited her fellow Southern roots-music queens for the second of her three concerts as the 2015 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. There were tears, simply because the principals were so happy to share the evening; there were stories, some that had never been told, and will never be told again; there was mutual praise a-plenty, as each testified as to how much inspiration she had derived from the others’ work; and, most of all, there was music, with all three women reaching deep inside themselves to find the core creative sparks that have made them such enduring American artists.

“The title of this show,” Cash quipped at the outset, “is ‘life is short, spend some time playing with your girlfriends.’” The trio played for a rapt, sold-out crowd of 800 in the museum’s CMA Theater. “We’ve done shows where we get up and sing with each other for a song,” Cash continued. “We talk backstage at events. We’ve been at festivals and have just missed seeing the other’s set. But we’ve never done a show, the three of us together. This is so special for us.”

Performing in the Nashville tradition of a guitar pull, the three women sat on stools in a line, at the front of the stage, with nothing but acoustic guitars and microphones. They were accompanied by Cash’s husband and producer, John Leventhal—“the band,” as she described him. For a complete wrap-up of the night’s show click here.

Established in 2003, the museum’s artist-in-residence program annually honors a musical master who can be credited with contributing a large and significant body of work to the canon of American popular music.  Honorees are given a blank canvas and are encouraged to lend their own creative brushstrokes to an up-close-and-personal musical experience. Previous Artist-in-Residence honorees include Cowboy Jack Clement, Earl Scruggs, Tom T. Hall, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Connie Smith, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs, and Alan Jackson.

“It’s been an incredible honor to be the artist-in-residence for this institution, in this magnificent structure, and with this wonderful staff, who have curated one of the most incredible collections in the world,” Cash said. “It’s a world-class museum, and we’re so lucky to have it. I’m so grateful that so many of my own family’s artifacts and history are in the archives here, for safekeeping forever and ever.”

Cash returns for the third and final performance of her residency on Sept. 24. The evening will feature husband, producer, guitarist, co-writers, and creative partner, John Leventhal in the museum’s intimate, 213-seat Ford Theater. The program is sold out.

Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood to Perform at Country Music Hall of Fame Fundraiser All for the Hall

All for the Hall New York

In an intimate, guitar pull format, Grammy award winners Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, as well as Country Music Hall of Fame members Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris, will perform at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum fundraiser All for the Hall New York, Tuesday, October 6. The event will take place at the Times Square Best Buy Theater, uniting country music’s most accomplished artists and most generous supporters.

A limited number of VIP tables and individual seats are on sale now and available for purchase at $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 levels. Event proceeds will support the Museum’s education programs, which reached over 160,000 people in 2014. Details to reserve a table or individual seat are available below.

Attendees of the event have a rare opportunity to witness award-winning, critically acclaimed artists partake in something similar to a southern tradition known as the guitar pull, where a small group of musicians gather together and take turns presenting their songs while the other artists look on or add harmony and instrumentation. Originated in Nashville, some of the most legendary guitar pull sessions were hosted by none other than Johnny and June Carter Cash. All for the Hall New York participants will decide what to sing in the spur of the moment, with no set list, as they casually swap songs and stories during this one-of-a kind event.

Each year, Gill and Harris return to perform at the All for the Hall benefit concert. This year, they will be in the company of Paisley, the singer, songwriter, guitarist and entertainer whose talents have earned him numerous awards, including three Grammys, two American Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), among many others. Underwood, a multi-format, multi-media superstar with spanning achievements in music, television, and film, has won seven Grammy awards and is the first female artist to be named twice as the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, will take the stage as well. Past participants include Jason Aldean, Gregg Allman, Zac Brown, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Patty Griffin, Levon Helm, Chris Isaak, Kris Kristofferson, Pat Monahan, Lionel Richie, Taylor Swift, Dwight Yoakam and more.

The museum’s All for the Hall campaign launched in 2005 and addresses the museum’s need for long-term financial security. Currently in its eighth year on the road, the annual fundraising event helps to provide a safety net for the institution and its work. This year’s proceeds will be dedicated to the support of the museum’s educational programs, which teach audiences about the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music.

VIP tables and tickets are available now, and patrons have the option of purchasing a full table of 10 for $10,000, a half table for $5,000, or an individual floor level seat for $1,000. A full list of VIP ticket levels and benefits can be found at purchase tickets or for more information, patrons may contact Rachel Shapiro at 615-416-2069 or


Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and More Appear on “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited”

Orthophonic JoyThe 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited

The Birthplace of Country Music is pleased to announce that the “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” album will be released on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Celebrating the impact that the 1927 Bristol Sessions had on the country music industry, “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” features re-creations of the original Bristol Sessions recordings by country music stars including, Ashley & Shannon Campbell, Ashley Monroe, Brad Paisley, Carl Jackson, Corbin Hayslett, Dolly Parton, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Emmylou Harris, Jesse McReynolds, Keb´ Mo´, Larry Cordle & The Virginia Luthiers, Marty Stuart, Sheryl Crow, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, The Chuck Wagon Gang, The Church Sisters, The Shotgun Rubies, and Vince Gill.  The recording project also includes narration of the 1927 Bristol Sessions history by famed Opry host Eddie Stubbs.

Also known as the “Big Bang of Country Music,” the legendary recordings by Ralph Peer took country music to a new level and produced pioneers of the genre, such as Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Johnny Cash referred to this event as “the single most important event in the history of country music.”

The idea to recreate the 1927 Bristol Sessions had been discussed within the Birthplace of Country Music organization for years, but the serendipitous connection between board member John Rainero, veteran songwriter Rusty Morrell and Grammy-winning producer Carl Jackson helped bring “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” to lifeWith support from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Birthplace of Country Music, the album was created and produced throughout 2014 and early 2015.

“My dear friend Rusty Morrell approached me with the idea to produce a project honoring the original 1927 Bristol Sessions,” Jackson said. “He was very aware and fond of a couple of other multi-artist ‘tribute’ projects I had produced and felt I was the guy who could bring his vision to life. In my opinion, the importance of those 1927 recordings cannot be overstated, and I am truly honored that Rusty asked me to shine a new and loving light on some of those classic works.”

The Smithsonian Institution-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia is dedicated to preserve the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting influence on American popular music. The museum is part of The Crooked Road, the tie that binds Southwest Virginia’s music heritage to a rich history.  The Crooked Road spans more than 300 miles, showcasing the land and its people inspired legends like the Carter family, the Stoneman family, Dr. Ralph Stanley and Johnny Cash. Its authentic culture continues to inspire musicians today.

“Orthophonic Joy” is a modern take on the authentic, legendary music birthed in the foothills of the majestic mountains across Southwest Virginia and Tennessee. The songs, many of which have been passed from generation to generation, are meant to inspire travel to a region which music lovers have long revered as sacred ground.

“The 1927 Bristol Sessions have often been honored for their impact on the world’s music,” said Leah Ross, executive director, Birthplace of Country Music. “With the opening of the Museum, the release of ‘Orthophonic Joy,’ and the upcoming launch of a new WBCM radio station, BCM and the team of irreplaceable partners who are part of these endeavors are ensuring the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions lives on for generations to come.”

Three key partners on this project include the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“In Tennessee, we like to say the music is ‘in the water.’ It flows from every corner of the state, from cities like Nashville, Memphis, and Bristol and small towns like Brownsville, Smithville and Franklin,” said Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Entertainment icons Dolly Parton, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart are breathing new life into the 1927 Bristol Sessions. The Orthophonic Joy project is a vivid reminder of our musical roots and will inspire future generations of music makers and fans.”

“The music still comes out of the hills as a new generation of performers take mountain music back into the mainstream,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “It can be heard at general stores, barber shops, ice cream stands, small town theaters, and front porches throughout the region. Visitors can easily meet the musicians and presenters, some of whom are direct descendants of some of the most famous names in the genre. This experience is not manufactured. It is unquestionably an authentic Virginia—and American—experience.”

“This album further establishes why Bristol is known as the Birthplace of Country Music,” said Matt Bolas, executive director of the Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Bristol’s music heritage draws visitors from around the world, and this album along with the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Music Festival, year round live music and concerts, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum amplifies why Bristol is a music destination.”

The album is currently available for pre-orders through Amazon and iTunes. The album will also be available for purchase at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on May 12, 2015.

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