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Keith Urban Explains ‘Songtellers’ Theme for Tonight’s ‘All 4 the Hall’ Benefit

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Keith Urban

Keith Urban (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

By Kurt Wolff

Tonight (May 6) in Nashville, Keith Urban hosts the fifth annual We’re All 4 the Hall concert at the Bridgestone Arena, an all-star concert benefitting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Each year Urban creates a theme for the show and invites artists from across the spectrum of country music — legends, newcomers, and arena headliners alike — to take the stage and pay tribute to the Hall of Fame.

“I pick a theme every year to give the fans something different,” Urban told Radio.com. But he admits there’s also a practical purpose: “It helps me have a criteria for the guest list. Because there’s always more people that I want to play than we can have play.”

The theme of this year’s show is ‘Songtellers’ — and like last year’s show the guest list is certainly a big one, with Brantley GilbertBrett EldredgeCarrie UnderwoodDavid NailDeana CarterKacey MusgravesKip MooreLee Ann Womack with Buddy MillerMary Chapin Carpenter,Reba McEntire and Ronnie Milsap all scheduled to perform. Urban and Vince Gill (a Country Music Hall of Famer himself) will cohost the event and play in the house band.

Related: Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman, Hank Cochran are the 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Each artist will play a song they’ve written or recorded, or a classic. It’s a pretty open-ended format, but the point for each artist to tell a story about the song they choose.

“I thought it’ll be a cool, intimate evening on a large scale for people to learn something about songs they love but didn’t know,” Urban said.

Related: The story behind Keith Urban’s “We Were Us”

He went on to explain that the name Songtellers was deliberately chosen so the show could include not only songwriters but also artists who may not always write their own music, yet who have had a significant hand in choosing the songs that shape the sound and style of their albums.

He brings up Reba as an example. “Reba doesn’t really write songs,” Urban said. “So why does she get a song to record? I’d love to hear a story about why she recorded that song. Did she have to fight another artist for it? I bet there are some great stories about that.”

Collectively, the All for the Hall benefits have raised more than $2 million for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

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