This is from my Billboard Magazine issue dated Oct. 21st, written by Deborah Evans Price (enjoy!)
Usually when an artist releases a multiple-CD collection, it is a boxed set of greatest hits with maybe a few previously unreleased tunes thrown in. In a possibly unprecedented move, Vince Gill's new MCA project, "These Days," is a 43-song, four-CD set of new material that will hit the selves Oct. 17.
"I'll always write a whole bunch of songs and then try to pick what I like best out of that batch of songs," Gill says. "I found that some pretty good songs just kind of get put in a desk drawer somewhere and you kind of lose sight of them."
This time, Gill decided no song should be left behind, so he went to Universal Music Group Nashville co-chairman Luke Lewis with the idea to release multiple CDs during the course of a year. Instead, Lewis encouraged him to record another CD of acoustic music and said the label would release all four simultaneously.
"Normal rules of the business would dictate that you would split them up and release them one at a time, but why use normal rules when you have something extraordinary like this?" asks Ben Kline, senior VP of sales and marketing for UMGN.
The set will be priced at $29.98 but most chains will offer discounts. "Retail has been unbelievably supportive of this," Kline says. "They are going to rack it as they would his normal music... It's not going to be in one of those old six-by-12 boxed set type of configurations that get stuck in the back of the store. This will sit in all the new-release racks. All the endcaps and retail support have gone above and beyond what I expected."
"I think it is a brilliant idea that will capture fans' attention, not only because of the value price but more importantly for the diversity in musical styles showcased," says Brian Smith, VP of store operations for Marietta, GA.-based Value Music Concepts. Smith says the chain plans prime positioning for the release and will support it with in-store play.
"These Days," Gill's first release in three years, showcases the diversity of his talents. "Each record is quite different," Gill says. "I don't think it would work if it were one guy singing 43 songs of the same thing."
The four discs are subtitled "Some Things Never Get Old" (country), "Little Brother" (bluegrass/acoustic), "Workin' On a Big Chill" (which has more of a rock sound) and "The Reason Why" (more of a soul/jazz flavor).
Guests include Diana Krall, Bonnie Raitt, Gretchen Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Phil Everly, the Del McCoury Band and Emmylou Harris, Gill's daughter Jenny and his wife, Amy Grant.
With Gill issuing four CDs simultaneously, some might question whether he's at the end of his contract with MCA and looking to hurriedly fulfill the number of albums left. "No, that's false. This isn't an attempt to end my deal at all. I have a great relationship with them," says Gill, who has been with MCA 17 years. In fact, he adds, "we'll make this only one count on the contract end."
But perhaps the most burning question is, How did country music's most avid golfer find time to record 43 songs? "It rains every now and then," he says with a laugh.