Billboard- Vince Gill's Guitar Slinger
Return to Form: Vince Gill breaks five- year hiatus with home-cooked new album ‘Guitar Slinger’
October 29, 2011
It’s been five years since Vince Gill released his ambitious four-Cd, Grammy Award-winning MCA Nashville collection These Days. The Country Music Hall of Famer will return Oct. 24 with Guitar Slinger, a home-cooked effort filled with slice-of-life songs.
“The feeling of being home is pretty wonderful for someone who travels all the time,” Gill says of recording in the home studio that he and wife Amy Grany built in Nashville. “When you start being creative and comfortable, you really stand a chance to win.”
Gill has been a consisten winner in the country arean. During the Nielsen SoundScan era, the singer/songwriter has sold 18.9 million units on the strength of best sellers like 1994’s When Love Finds You (3.1 million), 1992’s I Still Believe in You (2.9 million), and 1995’s Souvenirs (2.2 million). These Days has sold 380,000. He has also won 20 Grammys and 18 Country Music Assn. Awards, including five consecutive wins for male vocalist of the year.
Guitar Slinger gets personal on several tracks, including Gill’s “True Love” duet with Grant, who wrote the song about her husband. “It took a while to convince her to do a duet with me,” Gill says, “because she thinks she can’t sing songs as slow as I do. I really like a very laid-back tempo more often than not. I had a drummer once that said, ‘Your songs are so slow I have to count them off with a calendar.’”
The album is somewhat of a family affiar with daughters Jenny, Sarah, and Corrina also contributing background vocals. Gill decided to include 9-year-0ld Corrina when he was taking her to school one morning and her her singing along to “Billy Paul,” a song he wrote about a friend who killed a woman and then killed himself. Gill says, “[I thought] this could be hauntingly beautiful if a little girl’s voice was singing, ‘What made you go crazy, Billy Paul?’ Why wouldn’t a kid ask that question? A kid might be the first to ask that question.”
Another Gill-penned track, “Buttermilk John,” was written in honor of the late John Hughey, who had played steel guitar with Gill on records and on the road since 1990. Lead single, “Threaten Me With Heaven”- No. 46 with a bullet on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart- is a tune Gill wrote with Grant, Dillon O’Brien and the late Will Owsley. While not all of the songs on Guitar Slinger deal with somber subjects, Gill has never been one to shy away from songs of substance. “Music should have emotion in it,” he says. “I’m not afraid of emotion on any level, so it’s not hard.”
Gill will promote the album through numerous media appearances, including “Today” (October 26), “Early Show” (October 29), “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (November 16), “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (November 17), and “CMT Crossroads” with Sting (November 25). GAC will premiere “Backstory: Vince Gill” in November. Gill will also perform on Yahoo’s “Ram Country,” “AOL Sessions,” QVC and MLB.com’s “Major League Artist.”
“Vince always excels through this live performances, so we took every marketing opportunity we could to do that,” Universal Music Group Nashville VP of marketing Tom Lord says. “And because of Vince’s stature as an artist, there are doors open to him that aren’t available to newer artists, like the ‘CMT Crossroads’ program with Sting.”
Gill’s versatility as a guitarist and vocalist also keep him in demand. He has recently sung or played on projects by Alice Cooper, jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, Australian act the Greencards and Irish group Cherish the Ladies. “It never ceases to amaze me sometimes who is on the other end of a song,” Gill says. “I did something with Tom Hank’s wife, Rita Wilson, the other day. She’s a really great singer; just completely knocked me out. I like all things and never say ‘no.’ You never know what you’re going to miss.”