All for the Hall 2020: Keith Urban, Tanya Tucker + More Tout Their Influences for the Country Music Hall of Fame [PICTURES]
A who's-who of country music stars assembled at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Monday night (Feb. 10), giving their time to a good cause: the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. With Keith Urban as the evening's host, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Brothers Osborne and more turned in performance of both their own songs and those by the artists who influenced them during All for the Hall: Under the Influence.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's exhibits trace the evolution of country music and draw parallels between the genre's legendary names and its more recent stars, and All for the Hall: Under the Influence allowed its performers to do the same. Each participating act -- 10, plus Urban, with a 50/50 gender split -- selected one cover song to perform, in addition to a hit of their own, and shared with the sold-out crowd the reason behind their pick.
Before stepping to the back of the stage for the night and acting as part of the evening's house band -- along with, among others, his longtime friend Jerry Flowers and legendary pedal steel player Paul Franklin -- Urban warmed the crowd up with his No. 1 song "Wasted Time" and Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou." Carly Pearce got fans dancing with a cover of Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," while the audience went crazy when Blake Shelton arrived to play his own "Ol' Red" and Alan Jackson's "Dallas," and Tenille Townes brought some rock to the show via U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Those performances, though, were just the start of an incredible evening. These are five of the night's most memorable covers:
Brothers Osborne Bring "an Old Country Song" to the Stage
Sure, John Osborne and Keith Urban's dueling guitar solo during "It Ain't My Fault" was epic, but so was seeing that the Bridgestone Arena crowd knew all the words to Merle Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down," Brothers Osborne's selected cover song. They kept their performance straight down the middle -- nothing flashy -- and the crowd ate it up.
"John and I grew up listening to Merle Haggard," TJ Osborne shared onstage, "and I love Merle not only because he’s a great singer but also an incredible songwriter and just an all-around badass.”
Ingrid Andress Sings John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
Onstage, Andress called Denver, "the first artist I’d listened to that I was like, ’Oh, I love this music and I love how country it is.’" As she pointed out, however, although he's considered pretty dang country today, back in the 1970s, Denver's inclusion within the genre was controversial.
"People were like, ’Oh, well, he’s not country,'" Andress explained before performing Denver's classic "Take Me Home, Country Roads." "And, to me, if you can write a good story and put it in a song, you’re pretty country to me."
Writing a good story song is something Andress knows a thing or two about herself. Her first song of her set was her own "More Hearts Than Mine," currently sitting just outside the Top 10 on the country charts. Hearing the Bridgestone Arena crowd sing the song's chorus back to Andress was magical.
Morgan Wallen Takes It Easy With Eagles Cover
Okay, we'll admit it: We were sort of hoping Morgan Wallen would pull out his cover of Jason Isbell's "Cover Me Up" for the occasion, but his version of the Eagles' "Take It Easy" felt appropriate given that All for the Hall founder Vince Gill is currently touring with the legendary band (in fact, that's why "Vinny," as Keith Urban calls him, apparently, wasn't on hand on Monday night).
“I’ve loved music ever since I was a little kid, and I had great parents who cultivated that ... Some of the music I grew up listening to at a young age was with me and my dad just riding around in his truck,” Wallen share from stage. “He’s a big country rock fan, and I grew up listening to a lot of bluegrass, a lot of Christian music and a lot of classic rock 'n' roll, and I feel like this song I’m gonna sing tonight embodies a little bit of everything.”
Tanya Tucker Honors Four Influences
Tucker earned the night's funniest introduction from Urban, who admitted that he's been covering her music since "before my voice broke, so I could sing in her key," before calling Tucker "without a doubt, the original female country outlaw."
Clearly, Tucker has influenced many an artist, but she's also been influenced by plenty of them herself -- so many, in fact, that she opted for a medley of hits instead of one specific song. George Jones' "The Grand Tour" and Loretta Lynn's "Blue Kentucky Girl" started her set off, but she really cut loose during Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues," showing off plenty of over-the-top dance moves. Tucker's final cover, Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," was positively triumphant.
Chris + Morgane Stapleton Deliver Bare-Bones Willie Nelson Cover
The Stapletons had barely stepped onstage on Monday night when the crowd rose to their feet to give the couple a standing ovation. Urban and the band ceded the stage for the Stapleton's two-song set, too, leaving Chris and Morgane up there alone, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar.
Stapleton called Nelson's "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" "one of my favorite songs," and Nelson one of his biggest influences, before delivering a stunning, simple performance.
Monday night's show, the seventh Urban-hosted All for the Hall event (All for the Hall founder Vince Gill and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris have also hosted a number of benefits in New York City and Los Angeles, Calif., since the series began in 2007), was the largest All for the Hall concert to date. Urban and company helped raise more than $800,000 for the Hall of Fame's music education programs. Since its founding in 2005, the All for the Hall initiative has raised more than $4 million.
LOOK: See the Stars at All for the Hall 2020: Under the Influence