By Ted Drozdowski - CMA Close Up
News that Vince Gill had joined The Time Jumpers spread rapidly when it was announced in February. Bu t in fact , the Country Music Hall of Fame member had actually been the group’s “fifth Beatle” since 2007, when he began sitting in with the Western swing ensemble on some of its regular Monday night gigs at Nashville’s Station Inn .
“I love what they do so much that when I had a Monday off, I would sneak down to the club to play a little guitar or mandolin with them,” said Gill. “Then they started calling me whenever one of their guitar players couldn’t make it. Now we’ve just kind of made it official.”
Gill became a full-time Jumper just as the group, long respected by musicians and beloved by a sizable local following, was receiving some long overdue national attention. Released in 2007 by the Crosswind Corporation, their CD/DVD set Jumpin’ Time earned two 2008 Grammy Awards nominations: The Mickey Newbury song “Sweet Memories,” a smoldering tour de force for vocalist Dawn Sears that channels the spirit of Patsy Cline, got a nod for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and “Fidoodlin’,” a showcase for what was then their three-fiddle section, was in the running for Best Country Instrumental Performance.