Lady Antebellum performed Rogers and Dolly Parton’s famous duet “Islands in the Stream,” a song inspirational to the group “because it opened up a giant audience to the country music genre,” said Charles Kelley. Lady A bandmate Dave Haywood praised Rogers’ “extraordinary” voice: “The tone and the texture really lets the listener feel like he’s lived some life,” and Rogers’ gravel and rasp “tells a story. I think that’s what connects with so many people.”
Country music legends and pop contemporaries paid tribute to the late Kenny Rogers in a star-studded CMT special Wednesday night while also giving fans a chance to give back in the Gambler’s name.
“Kenny Rogers was both larger than life and down to earth, a man who always went out of his way to help people – people who needed it,” host Rita Wilson said during the “CMT Giants” event that raised money for MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund to help musicians and crew members affected financially by the pandemic.
Blake Shelton, Jennifer Nettles, Vince Gill, Lionel Richie and others shared their feelings for Rogers (who died last month at age 81) as well as performed – in quarantined settings – stirring renditions of his famous duets, love songs, storytelling tunes and other works that made the singer a pop-culture icon.