The CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares special airs Wednesday, April 8 at 8/7c. Not only does the musical television event pay tribute to Kenny Rogers, who passed away in March, but it also strives to raise money for coronavirus relief.
To support the special, a number of musical heavy-hitters signed on to perform numbers from the comfort of their homes (where they’re staying to avoid further spread of COVID-19). The special is hosted by Rita Wilson, who tested positive and recovered from coronavirus in March along with her husband Tom Hanks.
Ahead of the CMT Giants special, read on to learn about who’s performing and what you should expect.
Celebrities Including Dolly Parton & Lionel Richie Committed to Performing for the Special
To draw in a solid audience and raise as much money as possible for coronavirus relief, while celebrating the life and music of Kenny Rogers, the CMT Giants special includes a star-studded line-up of performers. The list includes Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Michael McDonald, Jennifer Nettles, Randy Houser, Rascal Flatts, and Gavin DeGraw.
Both Dolly Parton and Lionel Richie collaborated regularly on music with Kenny Rogers, and those working relationships developed into deep, caring friendships.
As news of Rogers’ death spread, Dolly Parton paid tribute to their friendship and what he meant to her on social media, writing in an Instagram caption “You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you, dolly.”
Lionel Richie also took to Instagram to remember his dear friend and collaborator. In a post, he wrote “Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken. My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family.”
According to CMT, the special is also expected to include “a very special appearance from Rogers’ longtime band who toured with him for 45+ years: Gene Roy (tour manager), Frank Farrell (technical director), Keith Bugos (production manager) and Steve Glassmeyer (band member).”
The MusiCares Special Includes Clips & Footage of the Late Kenny Rogers
In addition to at-home celebrity performances, Rolling Stone reports that the special will also feature clips of Rogers’ legendary performances through his career as well as interviews given over his lifetime.
For fans who loved Rogers and his music, the CMT Giants special is a great opportunity to remember his legacy and enjoy all he added to the world of music. The virtual concert is sure to be a welcomed source of entertainment across the country, as millions are at home practicing social distancing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to make its way through the United States.
In a statement, CMT reports that Rita Wilson, the special’s host, said “Kenny Rogers introduced so many to country music. His songs crossed over into many genres. I’ll never forget the evocative angst in Kenny’s voice on ‘Ruby,’ the unmistakable hooks and his unique, authentic ability to tell a story in ‘The Gambler,’ and of course, the perfection of his duet with Dolly Parton, ‘Islands in the Stream.’ Kenny’s impact has been indelible. It’s an honor to be hosting CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers and to share in an evening of Kenny’s songs with so many iconic artists.”