By Kurt Wolff
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 and the country music genre as a whole.
“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 Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, Carrie Underwood, David Nail, Deana Carter, Kacey Musgraves, Kip Moore, Lee Ann Womack with Buddy Miller, Mary 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.
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.
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.