BACKSTORY: VINCE GILL” A TALE OF BIG TALENT, BIG HEART AND REAL-LIFE PROOF NICE GUYS DO FINISH FIRST
NASHVILLE, TENN. (November 28, 2011) – “Vince has so much talent and he’s so loveable, so sweet, so unassuming, you love him with all your heart,” says Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell of Vince Gill in Backstory: Vince Gill. “Then you want to break his fingers ‘cause he’s so damn good.” The bio doc premieres Wednesday, November 30, 8:00 p.m./Eastern on Great American Country (GAC).
While still in high school working as a multi-instrumentalist side man, to lead vocal duties and chart success with Pure Prairie League, back to side man work with the Cherry Bombs, music was his focus. “I was never shy about being a side man and I’m still not. I love it, I almost prefer it,” Gill says. “It’s still my favorite chair to sit in.”
Married and with a young daughter, Gill moved to Nashville in ’82 after being signed to RCA Records. Though a priority at the label and loved by the staff, his three albums yielded no real hits and suffered sluggish sales. Creative differences with the label led to Gill asking for a release from RCA . “From a business standpoint, I got it instantly,” says then RCA chief, Joe Galante. “From an emotional standpoint, I was devastated.”
Soon Gill was signed to MCA Records, a move that paired him with old friend and mentor, Tony Brown. “When I Call Your Name,” a hit single from his debut MCA disc, catapulted him to stardom in 1990. “I think everybody felt a sense of relief,” Gill remembers. “I’ll never forget it…how many people were just like, ‘Yes!’” The hits kept coming as did the awards: Gill has earned 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards just to name a few. He hosted the CMA Awards for 12 years, nabbing two Entertainer of the Year prizes along the way.
Gill’s contributions outside the music business are as impressive as his guitar skills. He’s raised more than $5.5 million for junior golf programs throughout Tennessee and continues to lend his time and talent to countless nonprofit efforts around the country. A scratch golfer, Gill spends nearly as much time holding a golf club as he does a guitar and it’s on the links that another side of his personality shines through. “He is 99% of the time the mildest, meekest, most gentle guy you’d ever want to see,” says Belmont University basketball coach and friend Rick Byrd. “But the one percent on the golf course, you better just ride along and be quiet.”
He married singer Amy Grant in 2000. “What I remember most is when we finished our vows and kissed each other, then we hugged and I thought, ‘Okay, whatever comes, if I can just face it with this guy, it’s going to be okay,’” Grant says of her wedding day. Blending their two families took time; Gill recalls his wife’s vision, “Amy’s dream would be that we would be the Partridge Family, that we’d have the multi-colored hippie bus, camp out and play hippie music festivals all around the world.” And although his induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 was a great honor, he admits that walking oldest daughter Jenny down the aisle during her 2010 wedding tops the list. “I’d have bet my life savings that my dad would’ve been the one just blubbering down the aisle,” Jenny recalls. “But it was just the opposite. I made it halfway and just lost it. He held my hand really close and said, ‘I got you buddy, I got you.’”
Even with 26 million albums under his belt, the Grand Ole Opry member continues to look forward to what’s next. “I’m so compelled at this stage of life to do so much more music than I’ve done to this point and it’s really fun. It feels like being reborn, I want to get better, do more, make bigger contributions and really leave a legacy behind.”