Keith, who will co-host the show with actress Kristen Bell, will partake in a collaboration with Willie Nelson, the Zac Brown Band, Jamey Johnson and Darius Rucker on “Roll Me Up.” Conversationally, though, the song is often called “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”
“I did one called ‘I’ll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again,’ and I sang it at his birthday party, and he got up with me. I thought it was just a matter of time before he had to write something like that,” Keith said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “As you know, he’s been in the news forever. … It’s hilarious that he’s at his age and still has so much fun with himself. It’s a wonderful song.”
Bell, the actress known for roles in House of Lies and Gossip Girl, admitted she doesn’t know why she received an invitation to host the show, yet she says she squealed when the offer came through. The event marks her first visit to Nashville and her first time hosting an awards show.
Although she has only known Keith for a couple of days, she told the press, “We’re probably going to be besties.” After a sheepish look from Keith, the room erupted in laughter.
Bell later told reporters she is indeed a country fan.
“For me, the songs are so relatable. Their ideas are simple, and their melodies and harmonies are pure,” she said. “And they sing about life. Every time I hear a country song it makes me laugh because I can consider myself in that position, I guess. That doesn’t happen necessarily with every other genre of music for me.
“Also, my mom sang a lot of Patsy Cline around the house, and she had a lot of Garth Brooks CDs. She was into country music so I played a lot in her Discman before I had my own collection. I think that helped influence me a little bit,” she added.
Keith wouldn’t say if the red Solo cup will be making an appearance at the CMT Music Awards, preferring to leave it a surprise.
“But it’s impossible to be at a party where people are drinking adult beverages and not have red Solo cups there, I’ll tell you that,” he noted.
Asked what fans will hopefully take away from watching the show, Keith told reporters, “We just want them to be excited at the end when it’s over with. Having the beauty of the fans voting is the way that all awards shows should be. It should be up to the listener, not up to us. I’ve always said it’s really not up to us. We can only make music and create whatever our brand is doing and put it out. You’re successful because of the people who follow you and it should be up to them. It shouldn’t be up to a bunch of yay-hoos sitting around a desk.”