‘Threaten Me With Heaven,’ Vince Gill‘s first radio single in four years, is that special kind of song that assures older fans he’s not going to be straying from the classic style that served him well during the 1990s, while finding new fans with an easily digestible, spiritual lyric. There’s no doubt the country great would love to have another Top 10 or even No. 1 hit, but this song doesn’t compromise anything he’s become known for to achieve that goal.
‘Threaten Me With Heaven’ is a big song in terms of length (almost four-and-a-half minutes), message and its layered complexity. An easy comparison to make would be Tim McGraw‘s ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ In Gill’s song, the protagonist is dying. “I can see the tears upon your face / No hiding place / You’re afraid that soon I will be gone / Time will still go on,” he sings to begin the song.
The chorus is equally long and powerful; in fact, it’s here that much of the magic occurs. Gill wisely avoids belting out each note as the song builds toward a powerful crescendo. Instead he jabs, and backs off almost to a whisper. Knowing there’s nothing he needs to prove makes his message that much more interesting.
“What’s the worst thing that can happen / If they say my time is through / Can you take away the love or the years I’ve shared with you / What’s the worst thing that could happen / What’s the worst that they can do / Threaten me with heaven / That’s all they can do / Threaten me with heaven / If they want to / Threaten me with heaven / I believe that it’s true / Threaten me with heaven / I’ll be waiting on you,” he sings.
Gill recorded his new album in his recently finished home studio. He says his entire family will appear on the project he’s preparing to release later this year. It doesn’t sound like any of them make this song, however, unless his oldest daughters are capable of the gospel singing that closes the track. Gill even takes 30 seconds to stretch his fingers as the music fades away. Few country artists treasure the art of country music like Vince Gill, and on ‘Threaten Me with Heaven,’ he barely misses a brushstroke.