COUNTRY MUSIC Vince Gill: regular guy and golfer
He's recording his next album and is on tour.
By JOHN BENSON
Vince Gill is just one of the guys.
To fully understand his male ordinariness, Gill has 18 Country Music Association Awards (including Entertainer of the Year twice), 16 Grammy Awards and over 20 million album sales to his credit, yet it was his recent induction into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame that caused him to gush like a little boy on Christmas morning.
"That was huge," Gill said, laughing, calling from his home in Nashville. "I'm a scratch player. I had a good year this year, bunch of good rounds."
It's no wonder Gill continues to find success in writing songs about everyday people. With his soft eyes and easy demeanor, the Oklahoma native first gained national attention over 25 years ago with country rock outfit Pure Prairie League before going out on this own. Solo hits -- and really there are too many to list -- include "Feels Like Love," "When Love Finds You," "Tryin' To Get Over You," "I Still Believe In You," "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away" and about 20 more.
At 48, Gill is still working at his craft, currently recording his next album, tentatively due out in early 2006. While platinum records and their accompanying awards are nice, the singer/guitarist views his craft differently from most other artists hoping to add another notch in their belt.
In his opinion
"The results never change anything, in all honesty," Gill said. "You can make a record and whether it sells 10 million records or 10 records, the notes on that record never change, and I think we as a culture tend to hang up so much of our thought process on whether it was good or not by its results. I don't quite share that same sentiment. It's all out of your hands anyway. I never really took too much time to worry about it. I always wanted to have the respect of the really creative people."
Humbled but not driven by success, Gill recently enjoyed an unexpected thrill when Eric Clapton paid him the biggest compliment possible by recording his song "One Day" (co-written with Beverley Darnell) for the classic rock guitarist's recently released album "Back Home."
"I was a kid in a candy store," Gill said. "And then he said, 'Please come play on it.' And I said, 'Oh, what do you have to do that for?' But it was a great experience. You couldn't be a kinder man in the world than be Eric Clapton. It was really nice."
For Gill, there is nothing like performing live, which explains why he's hitting the road this fall just for the fun of it.
Normally the country singer tours every holiday season with his wife Amy Grant, but because of her current television show commitments for "Three Wishes," they decided to take the year off -- which opened the door for Gill's solo jaunt.
While Gill plays Saturday at Playhouse Square's Palace Theatre, fans may be able to catch him earlier in the day on a Northeast Ohio golf course chasing an oftentimes elusive white ball. Yeah, he doesn't travel without his clubs.
"Well, it just started all of those years ago when I was touring with whatever band I was in and you'd be sitting there saying, 'OK, it's 9 a.m., what are we going to do until 9 p.m. tonight when we have to play?'" Gill said. "'Let's go play golf.' I've done it forever. It's just a great way to spend the time out there on the road."
So, how long before Gill tests his skills on the professional tour?
"Way in the back of my brain I have that dream," Gill said, laughing. "I don't think I'll ever be stupid enough to try to fulfill it."