Vince Gill & Paul Franklin Reunite to Toast an Old Friend

photo: John Shearer

He’s a Country Music Hall of Famer, and known as one of the greatest high harmony voices and guitar players to ever grace the genre. And he’s one of the greatest steel guitar players to ever step behind the console whose been featured on more recordings than almost anyone, and has been nominated for the CMA Musician of the Year an insane 30 times.

They’re Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, old buddies who’ve collaborated with each other often in the studio, for years in the supergroup The Time Jumpers, and ten years ago they recorded and released a tribute to The Bakersfield Sound called Bakersfield. Now they’re back, and this time they’re paying tribute to Ray Price and his legendary backing band that gave birth to a bunch of legends itself, The Cherokee Cowboys.

To be released on August 4th via MCA Nashville, Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys will include eleven tracks that look to make sure the legend of Ray Price who died in 2013 doesn’t go forgotten. But Gill assures, “This isn’t a sound-alike record. I never wanted to do that. I don’t think any of these songs sound comparable to the original. There were some unbelievably gifted musicians who were such a part of those original records. We were drawn to them probably as much as we were drawn to Ray.”

Along with being the home of steel guitar legend Buddy Emmons, performers Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Roger Miller, Johnny Bush, and Darrell McCall all did time as Cherokee Cowboys. So did noted fiddle player Buddy Spicher, steel guitarist Jimmy Day, and others. Ray Price basically took over the Drifting Cowboys after Hank Williams died, and they morphed into The Cherokee Cowboys. To read more about the legendary backing band, CLICK HERE.

The musicians for this tribute beyond Vince and Paul include Tom Bukovac (electric guitar), Dennis Crouch (bass), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Steve Gibson (electric guitar), John Jarvis (piano), Greg Morrow (drums), Wendy Moten (harmony vocals), the late Michael Rhodes (electric bass), Jerry Roe (drums), Derek Wells (electric guitar), and Andrea Zonn (harmony vocals). Former Grand Ole Opry announcer and country music historian Eddie Stubbs was also involved.

“We kind of shopped for the unfamiliar,” Vince Gill says. “Eddie Stubbs was part of this process, although he didn’t know it at the time. I’d listen to him at night and call him up and say, ‘Play something for me I’ve never heard before.’ He’d often play something that knocked me out, and I’d take note of all the songs. I had maybe 30 different ones for Paul to listen to—some so outside the box that I didn’t know them, and Paul didn’t either.”

The track list that Eddie Stubbs helped craft also includes a who’s who of country music, including Willie Nelson, Mel Tillis, Hank Cochran, Bobby Bare, Marty Robbins, Mickey Newbury, and of course Ray Price himself.

We had such a great time doing ‘Bakersfield.’ It felt good introducing that music to a new generation,” says Paul Franklin. “This time, it was a no-brainer to pick Ray Price. Once we locked in on Ray, we started looking through the sheer volume of his material. We looked for obscure songs, ones even Ray’s fans might not know as well.”

Ahead of the album, the pair has released the song “Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold).” Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price is now available for pre-order/pre-save.


1. One More Time (Mel Tillis)
2. I’d Fight The World (Hank Cochran and Joe Allison)
3. You Wouldn’t Know Love (Hank Cochran and Dave Kirby)
4.  Walkin’ Slow (And Thinking ‘Bout Her) (Bobby Bare and Lance Guynes)
5. The Same Two Lips (Marty Robbins)
6. Weary Blues From Waitin’ (Hank Williams Sr.)
7. Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold) (Mel Tillis, Ray Price and Wayne Walker)
8. Sweet Memories (Mickey Newbury)
9. Danny Boy (Fred E. Weatherly)
10. Your Old Love Letters (Ray Price)
11. Healing Hands Of Time (Written by Willie Nelson)

© 2024 Saving Country Music