My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Spotlight Artist: Vince Gill

The son of an appellate court judge and part-time musicians, Vincent Grant Gill was born in Norman, Oklahoma. His honor taught the younger Gill to play guitar at an early age, and by the time he was in his teens Vince was playing in local bluegrass bands like the Bluegrass Alliance and later Boone Creek, with Ricky Skaggs. In 1978, an audition with the California-based country-rock band Pure Prairie League. Vince would sing lead on the band’s lone hit single “Let Me Love You Tonight” before exiting and heading to Nashville to pursue a solo career. While in California, Gill met and married Janis Oliver, one half of the 80s hit-making sister duo Sweethearts Of The Rodeo. The couple divorced in 1998 and Gill married contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant in 2000.

In 1984, Vince signed with RCA Records and issued his debut album, Turn Me Loose, which didn’t produce any hit singles but helped earn the singer the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist award that year.  The latter half of the 1980s provided spotty chart success for Gill. It was only after signing with Tony Brown at MCA Records in 1989 that his career took off. When I Call Your Name, his first album for MCA was released in November 1989 and within a year was a platinum-selling success, thanks in no small part to the winning title track.

The 1990s was a time of watershed success for Gill, as every studio album he released was certified platinum. He would eventually sell more than 20 million albums and win more 18 CMA and 20 Grammy Awards. After a decade of consecutive hit-making, the radio hits stopped coming toward the turn of the century for Gill, though his albums continued to sell well. He’s since emerged as an elder statesmen of sorts and a torch-carrier for traditional country music.  He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Radio support or no, Gill is as busy as ever these days as an in-demand backing musician and singer and recording his own albums. He issued a 4-disc set of all new music in 2006 and just released his latest album a week ago today. Keep reading as we revisit the career of Vince Gill all month long here at My Kind of Country.

13 responses to “Spotlight Artist: Vince Gill

  1. Paul W Dennis November 2, 2011 at 12:07 am

    A worthy choice for Spotlight Artist, although he is not one of my personal favorites. In many ways he reminds me of Steve Wariner, another artist who can pick , sing and write songs. Both are dynamic stage performers but the one area where Vince has the advantage over Wariner is in his media personality. Consequently, Vince Gill is better known to the general public. I look forward to Steve Wariner being the Spotlight Artist some month, as well

    • Danny Barker November 2, 2011 at 12:37 am

      I could’nt agree with you more they both are great.You are right about Vince and the media he dose a lot of cleb. golf tourment for charity.I think he still has his charity golf tourment there in Nashville TN.

  2. Andrew Leprich November 2, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Excellent choice for this month’s spotlight artist.

  3. bob November 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Besides his own catalog, he just might be the best back-up/harmony singer ever. I guess one of his earliest efforts was with Rosanne Cash on “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”. It would be interesting to see a list of all the songs he’s appeared on. Saw him once at Long Island’s Westbury Music Fair. He was so popular that he could command $55 when other country artists like Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea and Mary Chapin Carpenter could only get $30 – 35.

  4. Ken Johnson November 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Great selection for this month’s spotlight. His music serves as a stark counterpoint to the shallow rock & rap loving tatooed freaks that seem to be holding country music hostage today. Vince has kept one foot firmly planted in country music tradition even though he has stretched his musical boundaries from time to time. The only fault I ever found with Vince’s music is that for a time the ballads selected for single release were far too similar. I would often hear the song intro and I wasn’t sure which Vince tune it was going to be.
    Nevertheless he is one of country music’s finest vocalists and it’s great that he is back with fresh material. Still hoping that one day he’ll record a full duet album with Patty Loveless.

  5. Michael A. November 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm


    I bet Leeann will be pretty happy about this too. 🙂

  6. Ben Foster November 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Vince Gill is one artist on the never-ending lists of artists whose work I intend to dig deeper into, so I’ll be thrilled to read this month’s coverage. (And yay for Leeann!!) I’m enjoying his new Guitar Slinger album quite a bit.

  7. Ken Johnson November 4, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Next to his excellent singing, songwriting and guitar playing abilities Vince is one of the funniest guys in country music. His keen sense of humor and extremely quick wit were two of the reasons that he made such an entertaining CMA Awards Show host for so many years.

    This past week one of the radio industry websites was collecting stories from radio personalities about happenings at concerts that were funny, scary, unusual or otherwise unforgettable. Here’s a story that perfectly illustrates how funny Vince can be even when he’s not onstage:

    From Angie Ward, MD/midday personality WTQR Greensboro, N.C.:

    “The very first major concert I emceed was Vince Gill while on the air at WSTH (South 106) in Columbus, Ga. I had never spoken in front of a crowd larger than a hundred people, and the coliseum was sold out! I was so nervous backstage before the show that Vince noticed. He asked if I was all right, and I explained my fear. In that wonderfully soft and soothing voice of his he said, ‘Oh, you’ll do fine. Just remember my name is VANCE GRILL.’ and then he repeated it several times for the next half hour, until I walked out on stage and… Well, no, I didn’t call him ‘Vance Grill,’ but only because I had written his real name on my sweaty palm and I read it!”

  8. Tom November 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Vince Gill is one of the greatest talents in music today. He’s incredibly versatile as a musician and songwriter and still posseses one of the purest vocals around. I’ve followed his incredible career since his PPL days and even back then it was obvious he was something very special. The Vince Gill’s of the world are few and far between. Nice spotlight on an enormously gifted man.

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