Dan MacIntosh – Roughstock

Vince Gill’s Guitar Slinger is a good old fashioned country  album. (That’s a compliment, by the way). Its songs address a lot the  biggest questions in life, such as heaven, hell, sin, salvation and all  that sorta messy stuff. In the wrong hands, such subject matter might  come off preachy. In Gill’s capable guitar slinging hands, though, it’s  never less than beautifully touching.

There a few truly pitiful characters studied during this  thoughtful work. One poor soul named Billy Paul – in a song of the same  name – chronicles the life of a man who ends up committing murder, and  the narrator wonders why it all went so wrong. Then with “Bread and  Water,” Gill sings about the essentials of life through the story of a  homeless man. “Threaten Me With Heaven,” one of this album’s most  touching songs, speaks frankly about death and how the afterlife is not a  future to be feared. One of its four songwriters was Will Owsley, who  later committed suicide. One has to wonder if he was contemplating this  final act while he was writing the lyric. It’s simply chilling.

Although this album gets deadly serious during its many sobering  moments, it’s also a whole lot of fun in a few places, and sincerely  romantic in others. The title track is clearly autobiographical. Before  we had Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, Vince Gill proved that some  extremely talented guys can bend strings amazingly, in addition to  singing equally well. It’s obvious he’s talking about his equally famous  wife, Amy Grant, when he tells how he “went and married that  contemporary Christian singer” during the album’s hard-charging, guitar  strumming and piano pounding title track. That well known “contemporary  Christian singer” also joins Gill on the romantic ballad, “True Love.”  Its lyric is all about being patient and persistent when it comes to  finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. Another happier song is “Who Wouldn’t Fall In  Love With You.” This is one of those ‘love at first site’ songs. The  moment this angel walks in the room, Gill suggests at one point, he’s  helplessly smitten by her. (However, when it comes to Amy Grant, haven’t  we all been similarly smitten)?

Oddly enough, Gill doesn’t necessarily sling his guitar around  all that much on this new CD. Sure, he shows off a tad on the title  track and channels the blues during “When the Lady Sings the Blues.”  However, for the most part this is a songs album. Had he called it  ‘Story Slinger,’ in fact, he would not have stretched the truth in the  least.

Country music fans are proud to talk about the style’s historic  emphasis on story songs. Sadly, however, one doesn’t hear nearly enough  tales-put-to-twangy-melodies on the radio these days, though. If there’s  any justice in the music world, many short story songs from Guitar Slinger will make it onto playlists around the country.

In addition to the high quality songwriting found throughout  this new disc, Gill’s high and lonesome singing voice has also never  sounded better. Furthermore, traditionalists will find plenty of real  country playing on this CD — not at all the slick Southern pop we’ve  come to expect from typical radio songs. For example, “Buttermilk John,”  which also features The Jumpers, has a bluesy sadness that leaves it  sounding like an undiscovered Hank Williams, Sr. gem. It lyric is about a  steel guitar player, and this track is simply saturated in weeping  steel guitar work.

Vince Gill refers to himself as a real guitar slinger on this  album’s title track. Without question, he has good reason to brag.

Author: admincw


  1. Just love Vince’s new CD . It’s AWESOME, any Vince fan will love it.

  2. Thank you Vince Gill for the beautiful “Threaten Me With Heaven”. If my late husband could send a message, that is what he might say. It brings me peace. Such a gift. Thank you.

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