A year ago, Keith Urban raised $500,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame when he threw an all-star All For The Hall concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
This year, he’s pitching in again, but it’s not the only thing going on in country music with hall of fame overtones. Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn will be celebrated with a tribute album, fellow Hall of Famer Merle Haggard will receive another rare honor, and five composers — including a former Beatle — are being added to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Here’s a rundown of the hall of fame-related events of note:
• Keith’s second All For The Hall benefit is slated for Oct. 5 with at least three current members of the Country Hall in the lineup. They include Vince Gill, Dolly Parton and Charley Pride. Also on the bill are Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Billy Currington and pop star John Mayer. Tickets, ranging from $25 for to $1,500 for a top-tier VIP package, go on sale Sept. 17.
• Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn comes out Nov. 9 with 15 different acts all covering material associated with the Kentucky-bred singer. Country stars taking part include Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson. Americana artists Steve Earle, Allison Moorer and Lucinda Williams are on board, too; and pop and rock acts include Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, the White Stripes and Paramore.
• Merle Haggard becomes the latest artist recognized during the Kennedy Center Honors Dec. 5. He’ll join Oprah Winfrey, Broadway composer Jerry Herman and former Beatle Paul McCartney at the event, which will become a Dec. 28 TV special. Among the country artists who’ve earned Kennedy Center tributes in the past are Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff and George Jones.
• Paul McCartney was awarded an honorary membership in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame when he performed in Music City in July. The Hall adds four new members Oct. 17. The inductees include Pat Alger, late singer-songwriter Paul Davis, guitarist Steve Cropper and 19th-century composer Stephen Foster. Pat wrote Garth Brooks’ “The Thunder Rolls” and Hal Ketchum’s “Small Town Saturday Night,” while Paul followed his pop career by authoring Dan Seals’ “Bop” and Tanya Tucker’s “Down To My Last Teardrop.” Steve created several R&B classics, including “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and “In The Midnight Hour”; and Stephen Foster was America’s first fulltime songwriter.
• The Country Hall of Fame plans to host a few special sessions this week during the Americana Music Festival. The guests include Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Wanda Jackson and Jimmy Webb, author of the Glen Campbell hits “Wichita Lineman” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”