LEGEND COMES TO TOWN

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Written by – Matthew Sigur

Talking to Vince Gill, I feel like I’ve known him my entire life. My interview time with him is like sitting down with him on his porch.

He speaks calmly, with ease and peppers his responses with “oh hell” as if he’s just taken a sip of a cold beer and a little bit splashed on his flannel shirt.

Gill, now 54, is an elder statesman of country music, who prefers the sounds of Ray Price, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty to the new stuff blaring through the speakers these days.

“I really just adore the one thing a lot of people don’t like about country, and that is the twangy, juke joint style and sound, and I can’t get enough of it,” Gill said. Talking to Vince Gill, I feel like I’ve known him my entire life. My interview time with him is like sitting down with him on his porch.

He speaks calmly, with ease and peppers his responses with “oh hell” as if he’s just taken a sip of a cold beer and a little bit splashed on his flannel shirt.

Gill, now 54, is an elder statesman of country music, who prefers the sounds of Ray Price, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty to the new stuff blaring through the speakers these days.

“I really just adore the one thing a lot of people don’t like about country, and that is the twangy, juke joint style and sound, and I can’t get enough of it,” Gill said.

Part of his charm is his unwillingness to pay attention to certain things his audience might see as important, like the laundry list of awards and accolades.

“All that stuff, the first time you get any of those kinds of things, you think it’s going to be your last,” he said. “I don’t think that ever changes. More than anything, you feel like you did something somebody liked. It inspires you to continue to do what you do.”

He’s won more Grammys than any other country artist (20) as well as 18 Country Music Association Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.

“Oh hell, I just love playing music,” he said. “I feel grateful that all those things have happened. I never did it in the first place, thinking that would be the reason why. I’m moved by music. I love playing with other people. That’s always kind of been my way of loving.”

Though country music has evolved since his entrance, he has maintained his popularity and more traditional approach to the craft, unfazed by the up-and-comers, the “new things,” yet still having a respect for his surroundings.

“A lot of people have come and gone. A lot of people lasted. A lot of people didn’t,” he said. “You can go into any period of country music history, and it’s always been at the mercy of the songs that were created at the particular time. Once you get older, you’re not as familiar with what’s coming up than what’s old. The one thing that disappeared to me was the real traditional element to country music. I miss it.”

At the same time, he compliments new performers like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

“Plenty of young people have tons of talent,” he said. “It may not be your cup of tea, but time will weed out what was not so great. You will remember all the great records.”

He treats music like a session player who provides guitar licks to whatever he’s called to do. Over his career, he has performed on records with Don Henley, his wife Amy Grant and Emmylou Harris, among a list of others. He has also been called on but declined offers from rockers like Dire Straits and Alice Cooper.

“Unfortunately sometimes, time dictates what you can and can’t do,” he said. “I do as much as I can. I’ve never been on to turn something down because I didn’t like it. I’ve always had the mindset of a session player. It’s not my job to critique whether it’s good or bad.”

Also unlike many major musicians, he doesn’t care about the dollars and cents — the business side of music.

“Music is not like a ball game,” he said. “It’s subjective. It floats through the air and goes through your brain. There’s nothing in the result that should dictate its worth and value. If I make a record that sells 10 copies or 10 million copies, at no point did the notes change.”

Up next for Gill is a follow-up to his four-disc, 2006 album “These Days,” titled “Guitar Slinger,” which will be released this fall.

And winning the Masters, he joked.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said, laughing. “I don’t think I ever set a goal in my life other than to get better at what you do. I didn’t dream any of this up. I wasn’t a kid with a hairbrush and said, ‘I’m Elvis.’ I stuck my nose in that guitar and started to play.”

Part of his charm is his unwillingness to pay attention to certain things his audience might see as important, like the laundry list of awards and accolades.

“All that stuff, the first time you get any of those kinds of things, you think it’s going to be your last,” he said. “I don’t think that ever changes. More than anything, you feel like you did something somebody liked. It inspires you to continue to do what you do.”

He’s won more Grammys than any other country artist (20) as well as 18 Country Music Association Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.

“Oh hell, I just love playing music,” he said. “I feel grateful that all those things have happened. I never did it in the first place, thinking that would be the reason why. I’m moved by music. I love playing with other people. That’s always kind of been my way of loving.”

Though country music has evolved since his entrance, he has maintained his popularity and more traditional approach to the craft, unfazed by the up-and-comers, the “new things,” yet still having a respect for his surroundings.

“A lot of people have come and gone. A lot of people lasted. A lot of people didn’t,” he said. “You can go into any period of country music history, and it’s always been at the mercy of the songs that were created at the particular time. Once you get older, you’re not as familiar with what’s coming up than what’s old. The one thing that disappeared to me was the real traditional element to country music. I miss it.”

At the same time, he compliments new performers like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.

“Plenty of young people have tons of talent,” he said. “It may not be your cup of tea, but time will weed out what was not so great. You will remember all the great records.”

He treats music like a session player who provides guitar licks to whatever he’s called to do. Over his career, he has performed on records with Don Henley, his wife Amy Grant and Emmylou Harris, among a list of others. He has also been called on but declined offers from rockers like Dire Straits and Alice Cooper.

“Unfortunately sometimes, time dictates what you can and can’t do,” he said. “I do as much as I can. I’ve never been on to turn something down because I didn’t like it. I’ve always had the mindset of a session player. It’s not my job to critique whether it’s good or bad.”

Also unlike many major musicians, he doesn’t care about the dollars and cents — the business side of music.

“Music is not like a ball game,” he said. “It’s subjective. It floats through the air and goes through your brain. There’s nothing in the result that should dictate its worth and value. If I make a record that sells 10 copies or 10 million copies, at no point did the notes change.”

Up next for Gill is a follow-up to his four-disc, 2006 album “These Days,” titled “Guitar Slinger,” which will be released this fall.

And winning the Masters, he joked.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said, laughing. “I don’t think I ever set a goal in my life other than to get better at what you do. I didn’t dream any of this up. I wasn’t a kid with a hairbrush and said, ‘I’m Elvis.’ I stuck my nose in that guitar and started to play.”


Author: admincw

4 Comments

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