Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill has sold more than 26 million albums, won 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards. He’s back at his craft again with more tunes that will pull at your heartstrings, and yet surprise longtime fans with some powerful and unexpected guitar riffs – a new side of Gill that he and fellow musicians are embracing.
This week, the country legend released his first album in five years, appropriately titled, “Guitar Slinger.” Gill stopped by “The Early Show on Saturday Morning” to perform the title track along with his hit from 1994, “Whenever You Come Around” in the show’s “Second Cup Cafe.”
Making music is a family affair – Gill and his wife, Amy Grant, who wed in 2000, recorded a duet called, “House of Love” that was a hit in 1994. On this latest album, Gill and Grant sing another duet, and her daughter Sarah provides background vocals. His daughter Jenny sings on the album, as well. Corrina, the couple’s 9-year-old daughter, makes her recording debut on “Billy Paul,” a true story about someone who committed murder and then suicide.
“Guitar Slinger” has powerful songs with compelling themes. “Threaten Me With Heaven” has special meaning to Gil,l because one of the song’s co-writers took his own life last year. Another heart-wrenching song, “Bread and Water,” was inspired by his brother, who has faced great hardships in life and spent time in missions.
“Guitar Slinger” is the follow-up to Gill’s critically-acclaimed 43-song box set, “These Days, which was certified platinum, won the 2006 Grammy for Best Country Album and received an overall Grammy Album of the Year nomination.
While Gill’s fan base reaches across the country and globe, he is especially adored in Nashville, where he was honored with “Vince Gill Week,” which ran from Oct. 13-19. The mayor paid homage to the star and read a proclamation honoring Gill’s contributions, and the Nashville Predators hockey team unveiled a Vince hockey bobble-head. He is the first non-player to get that honor. And guitars were hung on the famed Musica statue near Music Row.
Gill has teamed up with an impressive roster of artists – even ones you wouldn’t necessarily expect. He’s recorded with classic rocker Alice Cooper (whose real name is Vincent Furnier), who told The Toronto Sun: “He’s the Jeff Beck of country. He made my head spin.” Now, if you can make the “No More Mr. Nice Guy” rocker’s head spin, that says something about the way you can play a guitar!
Besides Cooper, Gill has collaborated with an array of recording artists ranging from Sheryl Crow, James Burton and Keb’ Mo’, to Albert Lee, James Taylor and Eric Clapton.
“I always felt like music was to be shared,” he says. “I was talking to Amy (Grant) the other day and I said, ‘Man, it is just freaky, even now, the people that are popping up that I never had any idea that they had any idea who I was.’ You never know who is going to be on the other end of the phone. It’s great.”
CMT will premiere “CMT Crossroads: Sting and Vince Gill” on Nov. 24.