Country Meets Rock & Roll
By Valerie Milano
ALL FOR THE HALL – Country Meets Rock & Roll By Valerie Milano Los Angeles, California (Hollywood Today) 3/4/2014 - “Nashville is this amazing town, with this great songwriting community, and it also has this incredible museum,” said Rita Wilson, the host for the night. She told the audience that she had been spending time in Nashville, writing songs with Jessi Alexander and Emmylou Harris’ former Nash Rambler band member, Jon Randall.
The Country Music Hall of Fame® held their “All For The Hall – Los Angeles” benefit concert at Club Nokia on Tuesday night featuring performances by Country Music Hall of Fame members Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members of Heart (Ann and Nancy Wilson), Grammy Award-winning artist Jason Mraz, and the night’s host, actress and singer-songwriter Rita Wilson.
Gill, 20-time GRAMMY winner, started this great evening by saying “I would start out with a song that is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Fifty years ago, this song was recorded and it’s a testament to what a great song is supposed to do, supposed to be timeless and last forever. There is an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame right now, and if you have never been, someday have the chance to come and see what the west coast did for country music, you owe it to yourself, if you live out here. I for one, believe that it was one of the greatest eras of country music history was the west coast sound of Bakersfield music.” He performed “Together Again” a classic by the late Buck Owens, who did in fact give us that Bakersfield music. He also paid tribute to his wife Amy Grant with his hit “Whenever You Come Around,” which he said was inspired by the first time he saw her smile. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Gill.
Jason Mraz spoke about watching “Hee Haw” every Saturday night, when he would stay with his grandparents. He wrote a song about his late grandfather, who he said “was a bit of a fixer, he had a sign hanging on his workshop that said Frank D. Fixer, people thought that was his real name. His name is Frank G. Mraz who fixed farm equipment and he wrote a song called Frank D. Fixer.” What a great song.
Rita Wilson came out to sing a song called “Still Gone” that she co-wrote with Alexander and Randall after losing her dad and two close girlfriends in a very short period of time.
Next up was Gill’s game called “First Concert.” It started with Ann Wilson saying, “[mine] was the Beatles in 1966.” Vince said, “really, game over, thanks for playing, I wish I could have saved you for last.” The audience erupted in laughter. Nancy Wilson’s shared that hers was Chubby Checker and The Marvelettes in a Seattle movie theatre. Emmylou Harris’s was Dionne Warwick. Mraz said “I feel there [are] two ways to answer this. The first concert you went with your parents, which for me was either Kenny Logins or the Beach Boys and it might have been both concerts the same weekend. But embarrassingly, when I was in eighth grade, I bought concert tickets, go to my first concert without my parents, because Milli Vanilli was coming to town.” The audience erupted in laughter. Harris said “you are brave man.” “Sorry,” quipped Mraz. Nancy Wilson asked, “was it the night?” “It wasn’t the night and I still left there with hope,” replied Mraz. Gill added, “mine was Amy Grant!” And then said, “no just kidding, she would love that one.” He did say he and his dad went to see Chet Atkins. But the first one he bought a ticket for was Paul Revere and the Raiders.
The “guitar pull” is a Nashville specialty; it originated in the homes of Nashville songwriters who gathered to try out new compositions for their peers. Nashville’s most storied guitar pulls were hosted by Johnny and June Carter Cash. The hallmarks of a great guitar pull are the spontaneity and camaraderie which lead to a unique opportunity for acclaimed singer-songwriters to interact with one another as they take turns swapping songs, stories and personal recollections.
Two special guests on stage were Holly Williams and Kim Ochs. Williams is the granddaughter of the first king of country music Hank Williams and the daughter of superstar Hank Williams Jr. She sang her riveting “Waiting On June,” about her maternal grandparents. Ochs drew strong applause with her emotional “Burning House,” which caused a smiling Gill to comment, “That’s some good singing, kid!”
Harris has participated in each edition of the traveling “All For The Hall” series, which began at Gill’s suggestion in 2007, held either in New York or Los Angeles. Proceeds from this “All For The Hall” fundraising concert were aided by an auction that featured autographed Gibson and Epiphone guitars, Southwest Airlines travel vouchers, CMA Music Festival tickets, and an opportunity to appear in a “Nancy” comic strip. All proceeds preserve the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s collection.
This is the seventh year the museum has taken its annual giving event on the road. Previous “All for the Hall” events were hosted New York in 2007, 2008 and 2013, and in Los Angeles in 2009-11.
About “All for the Hall”
”All for the Hall” started with a group of artists who agreed to donate the proceeds of a concert to the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum to help preserve the legacy of country music. One can become a part of this nationwide effort with a donation of $35 or more to “All for the Hall.” This is a museum of music memories, and it’s up to all of us to preserve them by joining and supporting this campaign to ensure music memories always have a home. Vince Gill is the President of the Board of Officers and Trustees, Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. “All for the Hall” Los Angeles is chaired by BMI President and CEO Del Bryant and produced by CAA”s Rod Essig, Vector Management’s Ken Levitan and BMI’s Jody Williams.
About the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization, and has been chartered by the state of Tennessee since 1964. The museum’s mission is to preserve the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the Country Music Foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s first library and archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B, and Hatch Show Print.