Country Stars Hit NYC For Hall Of Fame Benefit
Times Square isn't exactly the site that comes to mind when considering a classic country "guitar pull," but it was last night (Oct. 15) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's second annual beTimes Square isn't exactly the site that comes to mind when considering a classic country "guitar pull," but it was last night (Oct. 15) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's second annual benefit at the Nokia Theatre.
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm and Rodney Crowell each took turns singing lead throughout the night, aided by veteran sidemen Jerry Douglas and Larry Campbell.
Although Harris started off with her ode to June Carter Cash, "Strong Hand," she was frequently poached to accompany the men on stage. Gill dueted with her on his 2003 ballad "Young Man's Town," and Helm asked her to join in on the Band's classic "Evangeline" and "White Dove." Crowell got her into his mix too, on his early '80s ballad "Long Hard Road."
Harris drew from her 2000 album "Red Dirt Girl," churning out gorgeous versions of the title track and "The Pearl," as well as the live debut of that project's "Tragedy."
Gill was in a sentimental mood for most of the evening, telling stories about his strict upbringing before playing "The Key To Life," and going into vivid detail about his brother's struggles before playing "Bread and Water." Gill also played a new tune he's been performing of late, "Lucky Diamond Motel," about a fictitious stop alongside Route 66 in Oklahoma.
The highlight of the evening came about three-quarters of the way in, with Harris, Gill and Crowell tackling the Townes Van Zandt ballad "If I Needed You," with Campbell adding mandolin. A group sing-a-long including host Billy Bob Thornton on the country classic "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" closed the proceedings.
Earlier in the evening, money was raised through a live auction. A travel package to see an Alan Jackson CMT taping in Nashville went for $1,000; an autographed Slingerland drum set went for $6,000, and a 10-ticket package to Helm's Midnight Ramble Sessions in Woodstock, N.Y., garnered $6,700.