After 35 years of singing and one Country Music Hall of Fame induction, Vince Gill finally feels like he’s getting the chance to prove himself.Four decades into Vince Gill’s career, his new album, Guitar Slinger, represents a first for the veteran singer/songwriter, as it was recorded entirely at his newly built home studio in Nashville.
“I’ve always wondered what really bringing music into my home would do for me,” Gill says. In part, it brought his family and music together, with Gill’s wife, singer Amy Grant, as well as their daughters Corrina Gill, Jenny Gill and Sarah Chapman all guesting on the record.
Guitar Slinger comes five years after Gill’s most ambitious recording project, These Days, a critically acclaimed four-CD, 43-song box set of new material. Despite the scope of that project, Gill says he had no problem coming up with new songs this time around. “The first thing I wrote after These Days was unlike anything on that record,” he says. “It feels like I’m in a new place.”
The 54-year-old says his work has long been a reflection of his life and its changes, from his time leading ’70s country-rockers Pure Prairie League, to his days as one of Nashville’s most in-demand session players, to the launch of a solo career that has seen him sell 26 million albums, earn 20 Grammy awards and win him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. “I feel like getting inducted into the [Hall] has really lit a fire in me,” he says. “I want to go earn it now. I want the next 10 or 15 years to be my most prolific.”
True to his word, Gill hasn’t been wasting any time. In addition to his solo work, he’s been playing with western swing band the Time Jumpers. He’s also been crossing genre boundaries, becoming a regular at Eric Clapton’s annual Crossroads Guitar Festival and working with a range of blues artists such as Joe Bonamassa, Johnny Winter and Sonny Landreth.
“I’m being seen now more in the vein of a musician, which I’ve always been, and not so much a country singer that plays a little bit,” Gill says. “That’s really gratifying, because it’s the way I’ve always seen myself.”