ince Gill played host to an entertaining guitar pull, a show which also featured his longtime friend, Emmylou Harris, slightly newer friend Sheryl Crow and brand-new friend Luke Combs.
Gill joked from the outset that this All for the Hall fundraising show needed Combs to sell tickets, and by the audience's response, it was clear many came only to see Combs. They cheered loudly whenever he took a vocal turn, and rudely chatted whenever the other three took solo performances. This rudeness was annoying, but not annoying enough to ruin the evening. The music was just too good.
Gill sang a couple of fine songs from in fine new album, "Okie," including "A World Without Haggard," inspired by the huge influence The Hag has had on Gill's music. He also sang a lovely song about his mother, called "A Letter to My Mama." Additionally, Gill took the part of the lead acoustic guitarist for all the other performers.
Harris was as lovely as ever and shone brightest while harmonizing with Crow on "Nobody's Perfect," off Crow's especially good new "Threads" release. Harris also sang a lovely song inspired by a homeless man in Nashville. Furthermore, Harris was the biggest cheerleader for the other three acts.
Crow mostly stuck with the hits, singing "If It Makes You Happy" and "Everyday Is a Winding Road." She was at her best, though, with a 'new' song, "Redemption Day," which was recorded for the new project with a vocal from the late Johnny Cash. She introduced this song with a great story about Cash, and she also told a funny tale about former employer (and current Gill employer) Don Henley.
Combs was in awe of his co-performers but had no reason to be quite so humble. His hits, "When It Rains It Pours" and "Hurricane," came off well, and a new one "Dear Today" revealed his strong songwriting skills.
Most true music lovers would have been happy with any one of the four artists by performing by themselves, rather than sharing the state at this benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and music education for young people. As it played out, though, this show lived up to being one fine country music sample platter.