‘ALL IN FOR THE GAMBLER: KENNY ROGERS FAREWELL CELEBRATION’ FULL OF SURPRISES AND EMOTIONAL MOMENTS
The biggest event this week in Nashville was the Kenny Rogers All In For The Gambler.
Kenny Rogers’ musical career has touched many different styles of music throughout various generations, and his farewell performance to Nashville, All In For The Gambler, served as a reminder of the musical impact that his career has had – and will continue to make for years to come. An all-star cast of Rogers’ contemporaries – and many of today’s hottest musical artists – turned up last night (October 25) at the Bridgestone Arena in Music City to pay tribute to the Country Music Hall of Fame member, who is in the midst of his farewell tour, “The Gambler’s Last Deal.” Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night belonged to Dolly Parton, who teamed with Rogers one last time on their 1983 hit “Islands In The Stream” after surprising both Rogers – and the audience – with a heartfelt performance of “I Will Always Love You” to her friend and collaborator. The two also reminisced about their lengthy friendship – which dates back to a Rogers appearance on her syndicated TV show from the mid 1970’s – almost a decade before they first teamed up. The two also closed out their performing career together with the Grammy-nominated “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” a single from 2013.
The evening was a mixture of song performances that balanced many of the singer’s iconic hits – as well as many of the early days of Rogers’ career as the lead vocalist of The First Edition. Jamey Johnson paid tribute to the singer’s versatility with a raucous take on Mickey Newbury’s “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” a First Edition hit from five decades ago. The Flaming Lips shined the light on “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” with Reba McEntire tipping the hat to the group’s “Reuben James.” Elle King gave a jaw-dropping performance of “Tulsa Turnaround,” one of the First Edition’s lesser-known tracks – that Rogers himself recorded for his 1979 album Kenny. Rogers’ fellow Texan Kris Kristofferson paid tribute to the band’s cover of “Me and Bobby McGee,” which he wrote.
Of course, the main focus of the evening was on the record-setting solo career Rogers embarked on in the mid-1970s, and those hits were on full display during the evening. Justin Moore nodded to the beginning of the singer’s hit making era with “Lucille,” with spellbinding performances taking place from Aaron Lewis (“Coward Of The County”, The Oak Ridge Boys (“Love Or Something Like It”), Chris Stapleton (“The Gambler”), Little Big Town (“Through The Years”), and Lady Antebellum (“She Believes In Me”). A special moment took place with the appearance of Don Henley – who once lived with Rogers and his family – to perform the classic “Desperado,” which Rogers cut in 1977 for his Daytime Friends album.
Many of the 80’s and 90’s hits of the singer were featured during The Gambler’s Last Deal as well. Billy Currington delivered a sensual take on “Morning Desire,” with Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Idina Menzel teaming up for “We’ve Got Tonight,” a 1983 Rogers hit with Sheena Easton. Two of the singers’ most frequent collaborators figured prominently in this era with appearances with Lionel Richie giving a beautiful take on “‘Lady,” a number one Pop and Country hit that he wrote for Kenny’s Greatest Hits album in 1980, and Alison Krauss saluted the singer with a pristine version of his romantic ballad “Love The World Away.” Another incredible performance came from Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and mother Linda Davis – who has toured extensively with Rogers over the years – uniting on stage for the singer’s 1987 chart-topper “Twenty Years Ago.”
There were several other great musical moments during All In For The Gambler, with Naomi and Wynonna Judd reuniting for “Back To The Well,” and an all-star group of Rogers’ former opening acts paying tribute to the icon with a sing-along performance of his 1982 hit “Blaze Of Glory,” including Travis Tritt, The Gatlin Brothers, Kim Forester, T.G. Sheppard, Crystal Gayle, Lee Greenwood, T. Graham Brown, and Billy Dean.
Blackbird Presents’ Keith Wortman, creator and executive producer of Nashville’s recent highly acclaimed “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” is the creator and executive producer of “All In For The Gambler.” GRAMMY® Award Winner Don Was served as music director, and presided over a stellar house band backing the performers at this historic concert event taping. Kenny Rogers’ manager, Ken Levitan, also served as executive producer. The event was filmed and recorded for multi-platform distribution throughout traditional media (worldwide broadcast, music, and digital).
CMA ANNOUNCES MORE UNEXPECTED MUSICAL PERFORMANCES AND COLLABORATIONS FOR “THE 51st ANNUAL CMA AWARDS,” AIRING WEDNESDAY, NOV. 8, ON THE ABC TELEVISION NETWORK
One of the best things about the CMA Awards are the surprises, and “The 51st Annual CMA Awards” has more unexpected collaborations to share as another round of superstar performances are announced for the Wednesday, Nov. 8 (8-11 PM ET), live broadcast from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on the ABC Television Network.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, P!NK, and Keith Urban will perform on this year’s Awards, and an unprecedented opening collaboration will feature Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and more. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will co-host The Awards for the 10th consecutive year.
Hill and McGraw are among Country Music’s most nominated couples and “Speak to a Girl” marks the sixth time they’ve been nominated together for a CMA in the Vocal Event of the Year and Musical Event of the Year categories since 1997’s “It’s Your Love,” which they won. The couple has 61 nominations combined, with McGraw winning 11 times, including the 2001 Entertainer of the Year. Hill has three victories.
Grammy Award-winning pop star P!NK is nominated for a CMA Award for the first time this year. She’s up for Musical Event of the Year for her “Setting the World on Fire” duet with Kenny Chesney, and just released her new album Beautiful Trauma, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart this week.
Urban is a 10-time CMA Awards winner, including the 2005 Entertainer of the Year Award, and has been nominated 45 times since 2001 – one of the most consistent streaks of nominations over that time. He’s up for four awards this year, including Entertainer of the Year again.
Church is a rare two-time winner of the prestigious Album of the Year Award for CHIEF and Mr. Misunderstood. He’s been nominated 25 times since 2011, and is up for three awards this year, including Entertainer of the Year for the second time.
The trio of Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott have won seven CMA Awards, starting with New Artist of the Year in 2008. The trio also has taken Single of the Year twice and Vocal Group of the Year three times. Lady A is up for two Awards this year, including Album of the Year for Heart Break.
One of pop music’s most popular figures for more than two decades, Rucker won New Artist of the Year in 2009 and has performed at The CMA Awards multiple times since.
Performers previously announced for the Nov. 8 Awards include duet partners Kelsea Ballerini & Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley & Rascal Flatts, Maren Morris & Niall Horan, Brad Paisley & Kane Brown as well as Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood.