Vince Gill Has One Hell of a Good Week
You may do a double take to learn that Vince once won the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year five years straight between 1991 and 1995, and two of those years won Entertainer of the Year. Yes, this was during the heart of Garth-mania. You might be surprised to hear he’s won 20 Grammy Awards. But over the past seven days, the recognition Vince has received might top many of his other accolades because of its personal nature.
Last Wednesday, October 29th, Vince gill was in Oklahoma City at his alma mater, Northwest Classen High School, attending an unveiling of a 9 1/2-foot statue and plaque erected to commemorate the school’s most famous graduate. What did Vince Gill have to say?
“If you’re kind, life is going to be just great. I told somebody, I was joking, I said, ‘Oh, great, they’re going to put a statue up of me, and kids are going to go out there and put cigarettes out on my face.’ Maybe it’s too tall. But more than anything, I hope that where that statue sits that it’s not too much about who’s on that statue but just that it’s a place where you go out and be nice to each other.”
Then Tuesday night, the night before the CMA Awards, Gill was honored at the BMI offices on Music Row with the BMI Icon Award. BMI’s annual ceremony honoring songwriters is the oldest in the business, and past recipients of the Icon Award include Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson. “I look at the past recipients of this award, and it’s pretty heavy,” Gill said. “It’s amazing people. There are so many people who mentored me and inspired me, and it’s a little overwhelming.”
Then at Wednesday’s CMA Awards, nobody was expecting Vince Gill to be honored. Nobody knew they had put together a video package with artists paying tribute to him as far ranging as Taylor Swift and Merle Haggard, making Vince weepy when Merle referred to Vince as a “friend,” and that the CMA’s had minted an Irving Waugh Award of Excellence trophy for the guitar player, tenor singer, and songwriter. Who even knew an Irving Waugh Award existed? Johnny Cash was the only other performer to receive the award. It was the moment the CMA made good on all the hard work Vince had put in over the years for the presentation, and all the contributions he’d accumulated to country music over the years.
Vince’s 26 million albums sold have bought him a lot of butter and beans, and all those CMA’s and Grammys sure must feel nice. But to be honored at his most humble beginnings by his high school, by his distinguished peers at BMI, and then the industry at large during the genre’s biggest night of the year, sure must feel good for ol’ Vince. Hopefully it reminds him that he’s not forgotten, and that country music still needs artists like him.
READ: Vince Gill & Alan Jackson Show How To Grow Old Gracefully in Country
November 6, 2014 @ 7:49 pm
Yay! So happy for him… 😀
November 6, 2014 @ 7:57 pm
I have nothing against Vince Gill, but he always struck me as an “over-awarded” artist.
I don’t doubt that he’s a fine guitar player and has done a lot of good things within the industry, but his work as a headliner country singer just does not grab me like that of a lot of country stars, much less Hall-of-Famers.
His recordings also strike me as soft pop, rather than country.
November 6, 2014 @ 8:28 pm
Not ALL Vince Gill music was for me, either. But when he hit out of the park, he hit it harder and further than almost anyone in country music… Anyone. “When I Call Your Name,” “Pocket Full of Gold,” “Don’t Come Cryin’ to Me,” “Take Your Memory with You,” “Young Man’s Town,” “Just Pleasing You” – those are some serious, killer country songs! I’d stack his top 10 country songs against almost anyone (except George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson).
November 6, 2014 @ 8:44 pm
Yep, ‘When I Call Your Name’ is one of the best country songs of all time (with great backing vocal by Patty Loveless) and is an example of the type of song that would never come close to being a hit today and that is such a great loss. Songs by adults for adults are pretty much not allowed in mainstream country anymore.
He also has had some great albums like ‘High Lonesome Sound’ and a great double CD that he released after his hit making days had wound down.
And as Trigger mentioned he has been an incredibly giving with his involvement in many, many industry endeavors like the HOF.
November 6, 2014 @ 11:02 pm
He wrote three songs on and produced Ashley Monroe’s last album.
November 7, 2014 @ 9:26 am
He’s producing her next one too.
Should be good.
November 7, 2014 @ 11:08 am
I have always felt that he put out his best material in the ’80s (“Oklahoma Borderline”, “Cinderella”, “Everybody’s Sweetheart”, etc., plus his lead vocal work with Pure Prairie League on “Let Me Love You Tonight”). His ’90s releases were a mixture of a few gems mixed with some mediocre pieces, but that was when he started getting most of his recognition from the industry.
November 6, 2014 @ 8:18 pm
So glad to hear this…I had to turn CMA’s off about 1/2 hour in.
November 6, 2014 @ 8:45 pm
Had as in – it was so excruciating to watch – I “had” to turn it off. Just clarifying.
November 6, 2014 @ 8:18 pm
Two freakin Doobie Brothers performances, but the CMA couldn’t figure out how to get Vince on the stage to perform during this very deserving decorated week. I was just reading about the BMI award presentation which included performances by Ashely Monroe, Keith Urban and others. I’d of loved to seen that!
Shame on the CMA.
November 6, 2014 @ 8:38 pm
Vince is such a solid guitar player and a humble, selfless human being with great character. Same can and will be said for his wife, Amy Grant. I grew up listening to their music & if anyone is deserving of the awards he’s received over the course of the week and during the course of his career, it would be Vince Gill. He is still needed as we come out of the “Dark Age” of country music. Congrats Vince and may you continue to kick butt in country music and in life
November 6, 2014 @ 8:51 pm
One of the things I respect most about Vince Gill is how graciously and naturally he transitioned from huge hit maker to elder statesman without the embarrassing attempts at staying relevant that many older acts go for.
And he never seemed bitter or got all ‘get off my lawn’ grumpy with the next generation that only diminishes the older act in my opinion.
Alan Jackson has been good at this also.
November 6, 2014 @ 9:00 pm
“Sometimes you got to stand back
and watch them burn to the ground
cause even though you built it
it’s a young man’s town”
I know Gill recorded “Young Man’s Town” over ten years ago, but I think there was a time when he was bitter about the shift in country radio – who could blame him. I thought about that last night when he was giving his giving his very gracious acceptance speech.
November 6, 2014 @ 9:11 pm
‘So why bitch and moan and say they done you wrong’
That comes a couple lines before the one’s you quoted so I also read that song as being resigned to the reality of the music industry and not so much bitterness.
But to your point, yes I’m sure he wasn’t and certainly isn’t to thrilled with the direction of country music today. But I bet he felt more satisfaction from the ‘Bakersfield’ album than if he was recording ‘Lookin’ For That Girl’ or some other monstrosity in a vain attempt to stay relevant.
November 7, 2014 @ 5:29 am
Actually I thought he seemed somewhat bitter in his speech.
The last joke he told? Seemed like he was thinking about being left out by the
And, he congratulated the “young people” for the way they seemed to be friends, but
left out any comment on the music they were making, which would have been a much
A bit of a poke in the ribs, in the nicest way.
Vince was one of the best hosts of any awards show, movies, tv, grammies. I
watched it many times when he was host, partly cause of how entertaining he was, in
a laid back good natured way. Really he kind of personifies some of the good things
about The South.
I don’t know much about his song writing, just heard his cross over hits, but the man
sure has a beautiful singing voice, showed it when he sang on the George Jones
and he plays guitar with the best of them.
November 7, 2014 @ 5:30 am
sorry about the spacing
November 7, 2014 @ 6:59 am
I noticed that too, that we praised their camaraderie but nothing about their music. Personally, I thought that was an awesome slight at the mainstream today.
November 7, 2014 @ 8:52 pm
Someone posted on Twitter, “Everyone who thinks today’s country isn’t country needs to have a seat! Vince Gill just validated every artist in that room!!!” Uh, no, he validated the camaraderie, *not* the “music”. I think she needs to listen to his speech again. That was a perfect way for Vince to say it! He can like the people without necessarily liking what they put out.
November 7, 2014 @ 9:52 am
Seeing this conversation reminded me of the great interview he gave Rolling Stone back in June and he mentioned the camaraderie thing then too: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/vince-gill-on-truck-songs-clapton-womens-unfair-role-in-country-20140604
He doesn’t like the music they’re putting out, but he doesn’t want to be the policeman of the genre. The camaraderie comment is him saying something nice about the current scene. It’s a great interview worth checking out in full.
November 7, 2014 @ 10:29 am
Thanks a lot for that link to the interview
Well worth reading!
November 7, 2014 @ 12:29 pm
Great article. Thanks. I’m still laughing about how George Jones thought Keith Richards was ‘not a good singer.’ However, that duet is killer – “Burn Your Playhouse Down” – and I suggest everyone listen to it.
Don’t forget, the Irving Waugh Award is more about being a nice guy in the music business, than a trailblazing musician or singer. As Trig pointed out, many of the past recipients weren’t musicians or singers. So, his remarks about camaraderie and not the current state of country music makes sense. And according to the article, it wasn’t that way in the 90’s when the stakes were much higher – Taylor selling 4 million vs. Shania Twain’s 40 million. I do hope for a Gill tell-all book in ten years!
November 6, 2014 @ 10:11 pm
Vince Gill is the most overrated award winning country music singer of al time!
November 6, 2014 @ 10:59 pm
Vince is top 30 among the best country artists of all time.
November 6, 2014 @ 10:57 pm
I grew up with Vince Gill. The first concert I ever went to was one of his back in 1994 in Syracuse, NY I was 2 years old.
November 7, 2014 @ 1:56 am
The whole Vince Gill presentation came off as a significant culture shock in the context of the CMAs. Such a thorough honoring of the past has become extremely rare in country music awards.
November 7, 2014 @ 7:19 am
Very well deserved!! I think sometimes the anti-Nashville movement looks at guys like Willie,Waylon, Merle, Cash and that is what they see as what country music should be. The fact is country music is a lot more than just that style. Contemporary country has always been just as important or good as what so many people call outlaw country. Guys like Marty Robbins, Don Williams and others are just as country and deserve the same recognition. I think Vince is someone who always fit into that latter group, which is more contemporary country, so some people who jump on the anti-Nashville movement tend to disregard him as a little more pop. Those lyrics and songs are just as country and heart felt as anything else out there.
TX Music Jim
November 7, 2014 @ 8:09 am
Vince Gill has one of the best voices in history and is an amazing picker as well. He is also a fine human being. He deserves the accolades and the respect he has earned it. If you are not a fan do yourself a favor see him live you will be at the end of the night.
November 7, 2014 @ 9:46 am
Anyone who doubts Vince’s bona fides needs to go see him perform with the Time Jumpers.
It’s like going back in time. Western swing and old-time country music done very, very well.
November 7, 2014 @ 8:56 pm
I was lucky enough to see the Time Jumpers when he was playing with them. He made a joke about how he was the opening act when he did some solo stuff before everyone came out. One of the best concerts I’ve ever been to was that one!
November 7, 2014 @ 10:15 am
Congratulations to Vince Gill. Watching him receive his award and enjoy the tribute paid to him by Merle Haggard and others was one of the bright spots of CMA night.
It was also cool seeing the old video clips of Vince playing with a scruffy-looking rock band (Pure Prairie League?) I’m not used to seeing him with long hair.
November 7, 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Cheers to one of the most humble, original, multi talented musicians ever. We should all use Vince as a template for living.
November 7, 2014 @ 5:33 pm
Awesome. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy or better artist. He was all over the radio in the ’90s and I kind of miss that.
On another note, who is that gentleman with Vince at 2:24 in the video, Trigger?
November 7, 2014 @ 6:09 pm
Damn you, Acca Dacca! I thought this would be an easy answer. But, Wiki and the CMA database only lists major awards.
The time period has to be between 1992 – 1998. I don’t think they gave an award for the Hall of Fame inductees – I still remember the head plaques when those were televised.
This has to be a special awards of some sorts. I’ll spend another hour of my life looking.
November 7, 2014 @ 6:51 pm
My final guess is Harlan Howard. That’s who I thought he closely resembled. I feel like there might have been a special award given to him at some point in the mid to late 90’s (He passed in 2002). He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. So, maybe they scrapped the plaques and gave out awards in the honor.
My final guess. I’m moving on with my evening.
November 7, 2014 @ 5:43 pm
I still remember very well hearing Vince Gill’s song “Look At Us” on the radio, I think I was around 10 or 11 at the time. I just loved the opening to that song, the sound of the steel guitar never gets old for me. Man do I ever miss hearing it in today’s music.
November 7, 2014 @ 6:46 pm
I’m going to get yelled at, but Vince always appeared to me, that he would be the type who would say suck up to the right people. Without a doubt, hes been over rewarded, (Please hes not as good as Strait or Jackson) yet every award show, he’s had praise and love heaped upon him.
Dont get me wrong, hes put out some great albums, but how many of his songs are regarded as TRUE country classics?
November 7, 2014 @ 9:04 pm
I’ve already commented way too much on this subject, but I can’t on Trig’s articles pertaining to FGL or Taylor Swift, so what the hell.
If someone gave me a pen a pencil and said write the top country 100 songs of all time, “When I Call Your Name” would probably be in the top 25.
Others I’d have to consider:
“Pocket Full of Gold”
“Go Rest High on That Mountain” – apparently the most played song at funerals
“Take Your Memory with You”
“Young Man’s Town”
Personally, some of the stuff he’s been recording lately is the most country I’ve ever heard. Go listen to his contribution to the Kin project – “Just Pleasing You.” That is more country than Strait and Jackson rolled in grit cornbread.
Like I wrote earlier, not everything Gill recorded was a country home run, but when he did, he hit it grand slams!
November 7, 2014 @ 9:53 pm
I personally just dont think hes in the league of a Strait or jackson. But the award show people love him and the critics, and he certainly has a big fan base. In terms of the top 100 country songs of all time.
I would say only Pocket full of Gold would be up there. But thats just me.
November 8, 2014 @ 8:47 pm
I agree with you.
I think you can take Cash, Haggard, Willie, Jones, Conway, Dolly, Glenn Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Milsap, Strait, Travis and throw each of their top 5 songs in the garbage-and their next 5 would still be better than Vince Gill’s top 5.
All those top CMA awards that Gill got were excessive. Many artists of his era who put out a bunch of great records–like Clint Black, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Toby Keith, Mark Chesnutt–got virtually no major awards at all.
November 9, 2014 @ 9:48 am
Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap? Seriously? Those guys had some good tunes, but their overall body of work was more pop than country.
November 8, 2014 @ 10:30 am
I just saw and met him last week at the Bob Wills fiddle contest in Greenville with the Time Jumpers. Larry Franklin is kin, so I got to go backstage, and all I could say was, “man, I knew you were good, but I didn’t know you were that good!”.
Between Larry and Paul Franklin’s solos Vince ripped it up with a Gibson ES and I for one was amazed. He even played a tune on the fiddle. The man is an amazing musician, and he has a passion for keeping country roots alive.
November 9, 2014 @ 4:23 am
YAYA! One of my favorites gets his dues again. And while I know they aren’t exactly in the same camp for some reason I want him to an album with Alan Jackson. They just seem like two cool dudes.