Vince Gill Returns With "Threaten Me With Heaven"
Calls New Single "Crown Jewel" of Forthcoming Album,Guitar Slinger
NASHVILLE, TN -- After a long and musically productive spell of writing, touring and recording with other artists, Vince Gillroars back on his own with "Threaten Me With Heaven,"which will be released in late summer and is his first single in four years. The song is the opening salvo from his MCA Records album, Guitar Slinger, due out this fall.
Gill co-wrote "Threaten Me With Heaven" with his wife, singer/songwriter Amy Grant, Dillon O'Brian and Will Owsley.
"Since the song was recorded, my friend Will Owsley took his own life, so the song has a profound impact on me now," Gill laments. "In my lifetime, 'Go Rest High On That Mountain' has been the song that helped a lot of people through their grief. I think this one will in turn hopefully do the same thing. It's a powerful, powerful song. I feel like it's the crown jewel of the new record."
And that's quite a statement, considering that this album includes some of the most poignant and moving songs of his career, such as "Bread and Water" and "If I Die." But the album also features fun, upbeat songs as well, and serves as a wonderful showplace for his guitar playing. Gill wrote every song on the album, which was the first project recorded from start to finish at his new home studio.
"I feel like the emphasis has been on the songs and the songs have gotten better," he says. "They really run the gamut of what they are about, how they feel, how they sound. It's not an all-traditional record, it's not an all-contemporary record; it's all over the map, like I kind of have always been. But it doesn't feel out of step with anything I've done previously."
Guitar Slinger is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed four-CD, 43-song box set, These Days, which was certified platinum, won the 2006 Grammy for Best Country Album and received an overall Grammy Album of the Year nomination. "That never feels anything but great," he says of the album's overwhelming reception.
Gill didn't have any specific thoughts or themes in mind when he began creating the songs for Guitar Slinger. Instead, he just let his creativity flow. "I had no expectations of what it would sound like in my home studio," he says. "I've never recorded in my house before. So I discovered an awful lot about how the rooms sound, and it's a real warm record.
"I don't know what it is, but it's so different than most studios in that there are windows all the way around the room. You look out and see trees. There's such a great spirit running around in the house and in the rooms that all the musicians have raved about the vibe. It's real low key; it's not commercial-feeling at all."
Guitar Slinger epitomizes coming home for Gill for several reasons. Not only did he record in his home, but he is joined on the album by his wife, Amy Grant, and their daughters Jenny, Sarah and Corrina. "Corrina makes her debut at nine on this record in a very dark song," he says of "Billy Paul." "It's a song about a friend of mine who took his life after he took someone else's life. It's very, very dark, but I love that in music. I was always drawn to music with those kinds of things."
Despite his unbelievably pure tenor voice and his jaw-dropping guitar playing, Gill always keeps the song first and foremost in his focus. "All I ever want to be is honest, truthful and authentic," he says. "The thing I've learned as a musician, record producer and part of a cast that does what it is that we do is that the most important thing is to serve the song. It's not to show off and play the most you can play or sing the most you can sing. It's all in how do you serve this song the best and what keeps the song the real focal point of what you're doing."
Gill has sold more than 26 million albums, won 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year twice. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In recent months, the congenially collaborative Gill has jammed with rocker Alice Cooper at a Nashville Predators game, backed Keb Mo, Crystal Bowersox and Sarah Darling on their individual Grand Ole Opry debuts and recorded with the Blind Boys of Alabama and blues guitarist and singer Joe Bonnamassa. He recently appeared on the CBS-TV tribute special Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country. His duet with Carrie Underwood of "How Great Thou Art" has been viewed on YouTube by more than 6 million people.
VINCE GILL WILL RECEIVE STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME IN 2012
TWO-TIME HALL OF FAMER JOINS JENNIFER ANISTON, RICHARD BURTON, HEART AND HAL DAVID ON LIST OF 2012 INDUCTEES
NASHVILLE, TN -- Next year, country music superstar Vince Gill will add a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to his list of honors that includes inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The Walk of Fame honorees for 2012 include actors Jennifer Aniston, Richard Burton, Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez and Adam West, music legends Barry White, Hal David and David Foster, the band Heart and cartoonist Matt Groening.
This will be his family's second star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His wife, singer/songwriter/author Amy Grant, received a star in 2006.
Gill moved to Los Angeles when he was 19 and lived there from 1976 until 1983. "It was one of the best times in my life," he says. "I have a great fondness for it.
"When I lived out there, I was such a young person that I hadn't really accomplished much of anything," he says. "So even the thought of one day having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was preposterous. It was silly. It wasn't even in the realm of my thinking.
"I walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard and said, 'There is so-and-so.' I never thought for one second, 'I will have one of these one day.'
"Amy has one out there, which is really neat. I got to go out there and experience that with her. When I found out that I would be getting one too, I said, 'If you could just put it next to Amy's that would be awesome.'"
When Gill moved to Los Angeles, he quickly discovered that he was surrounded by many of the musicians he had admired while growing up in Oklahoma City, Okla. "The most amazing thing was that it seemed to me that everybody I was really nuts about was out there," he says. "It was mind-numbing to me who I could go hear play. Those guys I had seen on the back of record jackets were playing in the clubs."
The first time he performed in Los Angeles was at the Troubadour. He played in Sundance, a bluegrass group fronted by Byron Berline that opened for Guy Clark. "It turns out Emmylou Harris was there, and Rodney Crowell and Guy Clark," he says,
"all of these people that I had no idea how they would shape my future. There they were right off the bat, and we hit it off. I don't think I could have found a better place to go at that age. It would have been a much better situation for me than coming to Nashville at that time. It was really an amazing place to be."
Gill first began writing songs while living in Los Angeles. "I was a seriously struggling musician, so I was also out there playing on the Redondo Beach for tips and borrowing cars to get around in and first getting my feet under me," he says. "The scale of that place was so much bigger than anything I could have ever imagined - miles and miles of people and freeways and oceans and mountains. It was insane. I had never been to a place that big.
"It was a wild time, I assure you," he says. "I couldn't believe that there was that much stuff going on and that many people. At 19, you are wide-eyed and yet to see much of anything. It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful for that stretch of time. It really puts you in your place in a humbling way. You thought you were a pretty good musician and go out there and then say, 'Gee whiz, everybody in every bar and club and studio is pretty amazing.'"
In 1979, Gill joined Pure Prairie League as the lead singer and recorded three albums with the band, the first of which produced the 1980 hit "Let Me Love You Tonight." After leaving the band in 1981, he joined Rodney Crowell's band, the Cherry Bombs, where he worked with Tony Brown and Emory Gordy Jr., who would become his producers.
In 1983, he signed with RCA Records and moved to Nashville. He released his debut album the following year. His debut mini-album Turn Me Loose (produced by Gordy) was released the following year, featuring his first charting solo single, "Victim of Life's Circumstance." The Things That Matter, his first full album, was released later that year, featuring two Top 10 hits: a duet with Rosanne Cash on "If It Weren't For Him" and a solo hit with "Oklahoma Borderline." In 1987 he achieved his first Top 5 single, "Cinderella," from his album The Way Back Home. In addition to his solo career, he also worked frequently as a studio musician, wrote songs for other artists and toured with Emmylou Harris.
He signed with MCA Records in 1989 and reunited with Brown as a producer. His first MCA album, When I Call Your Name, established him as a force in country music and helped him nab his first Country Music Association trophy (Single of the Year) and Grammy (Best Male Country Vocal Performance). The hits and awards kept coming, and they haven't stopped since. The two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year is the only person to ever win five consecutive CMA Male Vocalist of the Year awards and the only songwriter to win Song of the Year four times for "When I Call Your Name," "Look At Us," "I Still Believe in You" and "Go Rest High On That Mountain."
Gill has sold more than 26 million albums and won 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Later this summer, he will release "Threaten Me With Heaven," his first new single in four years. This will be the debut single from his new album, Guitar Slinger, which is set for a fall release.