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All For The Hall California benefit concert review


Last week Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Melissa Etheridge, and Chris Isaak all took part in a very intimate and exclusive All For The Hall benefit concert in L.A. and I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to send one of my awesome Gab correspondents.  From the review and pictures Victoria sent, I'd say it was a great show and a memorable event for all involved. 

This is a very long review with a lot of pictures so I'm going to cut it off about halfway thru.  You can check out the rest after the jump.  Enjoy.  And be sure to click the wonderful pictures to enlarge them.

All For The Hall October 1, 2009, Club Nokia, Los Angeles

Shannon – I signed a photo release document.  I’m assuming that it is a “standard”.  CNN and FOX were there.  It wasn’t jammed with media but a nice representation.  I signed-in and went to the 4th floor where we were to gather.  The gal who sat down next to me was also a last minute substitution for David Mills of FrontRowNews and AllAccessVIP.  We chatted and found out that we both retired from the City of Los Angeles and crossed paths at the Los Angeles Police Department in the late 1970s.



What was the event. From the CMHOF web site:


All for the Hallis the Museum’s first-ever non-bricks-and-mortar fundraising initiative.  The campaign addresses the not-for-profit educational institution’s need for long-term financial security and provides a safety net for its work.  Through an aggressive exhibit schedule, scholarly publications and hundreds of school and family programs, the Museum teaches its audiences about the enduring beauty and cultural importance of country music.


Vince, Emmy Lou, Dwight, Kara DioGuardi, and James Dentonarrive at the pre-show press area. 



Vince Gill, President, Country Music Hall of Fame Board – The event is to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame Foundation, to be sure that the Hall continues in its mission of documenting the history of Southern country music in America – traditional and contemporary. 

Vince is busy with this event, touring, and recording some new music.


Guitar Pulls are informal getogethers of songwriters where they can enjoy doing what they do.

Vince loves satellite radio.  You can listen to exactly what you want to listen to.  It is an interesting time for radio as commercial radio has fewer listeners, satellite radio is giving more choices.

Vince’s shirt says ”Change your thinking; Change your world”


Tonight is a gathering of people who love this music and want to help the CMHOF.  The HOF houses everything in country music from the 1920s forward and documents what went on.  The All For The Hall premise is to ask everyone in country music to perform 1 night for free and donate what their fee would be to the Hall of Fame.  Keith Urban and friends (Vince Gil, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Taylor Swift, and Brad Paisley – live streaming on Oct. 13 on the CMHOF web site) will be doing a big concert in Nashville on October 13 to benefit the CMHOF. 


Dwight Yoakam- In his opinion the CMHOF is the best museum of a particular genre of music.  It has great cataloging efforts and maintains an excellent collection of material items. Dwight admonished all museums to collect and catalog. 


Museums such as the CMHOF save the past so that new generations can see and hear what went before them and learn everything that is right with country music.


Emmy Lou Harris – Guitar Pulls are a long tradition among songwriters primarily.  Everyone would sit around, pass around a guitar, and sing their music.  It was about sharing and being generous and not being afraid to show what they do.


In Nashville everyone knows everyone and you never know who is going to get together or who might show up.


Emmy Lou’s daughter and 6-month old granddaughter, Prudence, were there.  She let me take pics but didn’t pose.  Prudence stole the show.


Read more and see all the pictures after the jump...

After the pics and interviews, we went down to the Club area where there was a buffet and open bar (diet coke for me).  Many people looked familiar!  I did get a photo of Ron Essig from CAA, in front of some of the artwork.  I had met Ron backstage at the CMA Music Festival in the past.  A young man looked sooooo familiar, that when he and his date were alone I went up and asked him who he was- in a very apologetic manner.  It was Jason Ritter, son of John and grandson of Tex.  Photo of Jason and Marianna Palka.  She wrote and directed the film, “Good Dick”( which is out on DVD.  Jason is in 2 independent movies right now, “Education of Charlie Banks”, and “Peter and Vandy”.


Jason loves Nashville.  He recently filmed in Shelbyville, TN, and met some of the locals.  He was walking down the street with a bag of laundry, headed to the Laundromat, when one of the shop owners who had watched some of the filming came out and asked him where he was going.  He told her.  She said, “oh no you don’t”.  She tossed him her car keys, pointed out her house down a couple of blocks, told him the back door was open, and he should make himself at home and do his laundry there.  He did, and it is a great memory of small towns.


Jason’s new feature is “Morning” with America Ferrera about the return of a soldier from Iraq. 

Note: my husband Harry graduated from Hollywood High in 1959.  A few years ago, about the time John Ritter died, they had the 100th anniversary of the school.  I was there at the big banquet and was able to tell Jason about the tribute to his Dad.

_ _ __ _

Later I saw James Denton standing alone at the bar.  Went up, introduced myself, and asked in a friendly way how he was connected.  James is a Nashville native, growing up there in the 1960s and 70s.  Loves country music.  Honored to be in the celebrity group upstairs.  He repeated that he didn’t know why he was there.  (later, a friend told me that he has a band and performs.  I guess he was thinking that if I was too dumb to know about that, he would go along).  He has a very down to earth and unassuming manner.


____ __ __

Time for the show.  We were sent upstairs where I got front center row of the balcony.  The performers sang 1 at a time, with the others picking-along or singing some harmony. Very spontaneous.  I’ve put the comments as they occurred.


They showed footage of early Buck Owens on TV performing “They’re Gonna Put Me In The Movies”.  That was followed by a tribute to Cindy Walker, who willed all her music royalties from her catalog of 500 songs to the museum.  Cindy didn’t start writing until she was 22, then moved to Nashville at age 34.  Much of her music was recorded by the movie cowboys such as Bob Wills, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans.  Also Bing Crosby.  She wrote movie scores.  They showed a “soundie” of hers. Soundies were 3-minute short movies or, in this case, similar to the music videos of today, shown between 2 western movies, back when we had double features.    Currently, a 12-song demo is being prepared by 3 producers, including Vince Gill, with new arrangements of Cindy’s songs and a variety of performers.

- - - - -

On-stage with guitars – Vince, Emmy Lou, Dwight, and Melissa Etheridge. 


Vince started by saying that some of the greatest country music was recorded here in L.A., much at Capitol Records.  Vince moved to LA in 1976 to follow Emmy Lou.  He played at The Troubadour, a local hot club in the 70s, and Emmy Lou was there. Vince says that all through the 70s Emmy Lou kept classic country alive.  Vince to Emmy Lou, “I will sing your praises as long as I can draw breath”.



Emmy Lou Harris – performed “She Believed” a tribute to June Carter Cash, that she wrote when she heard that June was gravely ill.  She said that it wrote so fast that is was as though June was with her.


Dwight Yoakamsaid that the 1980s showed him how country could “twang”.  In sound check he threatened to sing a Gordon Lightfoot tribute.  Dwight had strep throat all week, but assured everyone that he was not contagious.  He did sound a little raspy.


Melissa Etheridge began performing at age 12 with a country band in her home of Ft. Levenworth, KS, and she learned much about performing from them.  Left home at 18.  This was her first Guitar Pull.  Tribute to Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin, she sang “Me and Bobby McGee”, and really rocked out Janis Joplin style.


Vince and Melissa had performed together years ago when Achy Breaky Heart was popular and they were at the Hard Rock in Nashville, and Billy Ray Cyrus was there.  Billy Ray began buggin’ Melissa.  Melissa finally went over to Vince and asked him to tell Billy Ray that she didn’t dig guys. 

Vince and Melissa had a funny thing going on between them about Cinnamon Rolls, and apparently Vince is a sucker for a good cinnamon roll.



Vince then sang a new song.


Chris Isaak – came out although they were ready for Michael McDonald, but Mike wasn’t ready, so Chris came on.  He talked about being at the tailor shop for a fitting and seeing a suit of clothing for Dwight.  Just then Dwight called the shop to see whether the suit was ready.  Chris got on the phone and doing his best imitation of the tailor’s accent told Dwight the suit wasn’t ready because Chris Isaak had been there and liked it so much he had bought it. Dwight was yelling that he was going on the road and needed that suit.  Chris told him it was a joke.


Emmy Lou– Talked about Townes Van Zant and performed “I need You”


DwightTalked about Townes, Billy Joe Shaver, and Kris Kristofferson’s “dark” songs, and that tradition let Dwight to write “She Lay Dead”, which he performed.


Kara DioGuardi – came out and quipped, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here”, and referred to the others on the stage as musical royalty.  She said she was sweaty and nervous so she took off her jacket, then Vince took off his jacket.  She looked to the side and said, “You’re beautiful”, then said that she was talking to Emmy Lou and not Dwight.  That got a big laugh.


When asked about Simon Cowell she said that she didn’t always agree with him, but he had “worked his ass off” to make American Idol a success.  She sang a rocking bluesy number. Sidenote: Kara is so animated that she is difficult to photograph, whether singing or talking in an interview.


Emmy Lou talked about her daughter, and granddaughter Prudence.  Then about a song from her CD called Bonaparte’s Retreat.  Bonaparte was her dog, from a shelter, who died.  After that Emmy Lou saw how many dogs are in shelters and, knowing she had a big back yard, turned it into a fostering center for dogs who are in shelters and are at the limit of their stay.  One she brought home, a brown lab, who was to be put down soon, she named Bella, and within 3 days Bella was the house dog.  The song she sang was a tribute to Bella.


Emmy Lou also talked about doing a performance and the shelter, dragging Vince down there on a very cold Nashville January day to help.  And on that day 27 dogs were adopted.


Michael McDonald – came out last.  Talked some.  He performed “You Don’t Know Me” which was written by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker.


And that was the end. Everyone attending was given a show poster of the event.


There was an after-party upstairs in the club area adjacent to where we were sitting.  I waited a while and when none of the performers arrived, I left.  It was midnight.

Click to enlarge...



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