All-Star Lineup Earns Standing Ovation at All for the Hall New York
“The magic of these nights is the diversity that winds up onstage,” says Gill, who co-hosted the event alongside 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.”
The evening featured the celebrated performers trading songs in a casual environment similar to a Nashville guitar pull, rendering their hits acoustically and telling stories in between. Paisley and Gill often dropped in on each other's songs with guitar solos, while Underwood and Harris sang harmonies on various songs throughout the fun, informal night. Paisley noted that any given night in Nashville features various songwriters sharing their songs in a relaxed environment, while Simon observed that although New York songwriters have a community, they're not open to revealing their songs with each other in the same way as Nashville writers.
The other writers each mentioned how pleased they were to get to perform with Simon. “It truly is one of the greatest thrills of my life to share a stage with this fella,” Gill said as he introduced the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. “He is one of the greatest American songwriters of all time.” Later, Gill called it a "bucket list moment" after he took the guitar solo on "The Boxer," playing the part originated on record by the legendary late Nashville session musician Fred Carter Jr., whose daughter is country singer Deana Carter.
All for the Hall New York served as a fundraiser for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's education department, earning $150,000 between ticket sales and a live auction. The museum's chief executive officer, Kyle Young, pointed out that the assembled performers have collectively won a total of 56 Grammy awards, saying, “That should tell you everything you need to know about the caliber of artists who are volunteering their time tonight.”
In addition to the celebrated songwriters, the evening featured a performance from a group of sixth graders from Pelham Gardens Middle School in the Bronx. Songwriter Liz Rose worked with the kids to create an original song using lyrics the students wrote. They performed "Everybody's Perfect" with guitars and ukuleles, with help from Rose and songwriter-guitarist Phil Barton, earning one of the night's several standing ovations. That performance was part of the museum's Words & Music program, which has partnered with New York-based nonprofit Education Through Music to work with several schools in New York for the 2015-2016 school year.
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