Vince Gill and Keith Urban led a musical tribute to the late Merle Haggard during the 6th annual All for the Hall fundraising event at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
On April 12, some of the best talents from all facets of music came together to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame with a three-hour concert that was packed with musical tributes to Haggard, who passed away from pneumonia on April 6, his 79th birthday.
One of the first covers of the night came from Gill and Urban, who supplied an inspired rendition of the Hag’s 1965 track “The Bottle Let Me Down.”
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris shared a cover of “Kern River,” another early hit from Haggard, while Luke Bryan decided to go with an impromptu version of “Big City,” which musically missed the mark. Surprisingly, one of the strongest Haggard covers came from one of the most untraditional country artists on the lineup.
After supplying a somewhat shaky version of his hit song “House Party,” Sam Hunt wowed the crowd with a heartfelt cover of “The Way I Am.” Before beginning the track, he explained how he had asked to cover the song for the show before Haggard’s passing because of how closely he related to its message.
Although Haggard had a hold on a majority of the night’s performances, there were a few other cover songs that stood out as highlights from the evening. Maddie & Tae’s cover of Lee Ann Womack’s “Never Again, Again,” Jason Isbell’s guitar-heavy rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and Maren Morris’ soul-inspired version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” were all great moments during the night’s festivities.
According to Urban, the fundraiser raised over $750,000, which will go toward music education programs funded and organized through the Country Music Hall of Fame. The event wrapped with a sing-along version of “Mama Tried” from all the night’s performers as footage of Haggard played on the arena’s video screens. It was a fitting way to end a night that was dedicated to the beloved artist who’s impact will live on for generations to come.