It’s been five years since Country star Vince Gill appeared on the popularity charts. The Oklahoma native recently made a welcome return with his new album, "Guitar Slinger.”
“Guitar Slinger” is Vince Gill’s first new album since 2006. Gill wrote or co-wrote all of the 12 tracks, which deal with love, loss, hope, and faith. For the first time in his career, he recorded the collection in his new home studio. He says not using a rented studio helped create “a really warm record” that he also describes as one of his most diverse.
“It slants in two halves in a sense," he said. "There’s a half that’s somewhat contemporary sounding. It’s not very traditionally driven. The second half of the record is [with] a lot of steel guitar playing by Paul Franklin and the songs are very different on the back half of the record. They’re much more traditional, a couple of really neat story songs. The first half is a lot of guitar playing - hence the title ‘Guitar Slinger’ - probably more-so than most records I’ve made in my past. I’m following what my ears and my heart are telling me to do. I don’t plan it, I just kind of react to it.”
Vince’s wife, Amy Grant, and their three daughters all contributed to the album. Grant co-wrote three songs, including their duet “True Love,” which also features her daughter Sarah Chapman. Siblings Corrina and Jenny Gill guest on the haunting track “Billy Paul,” a song Vince wrote after his friend of 20 years killed his girlfriend and himself. Other poignant songs include “Buttermilk John,” Vince’s tribute to his late steel guitar player John Hughey, and “Bread and Water,” which Gill says is loosely based on his late brother Bob.
The album’s lead single is the Grammy-nominated ballad “Threaten Me With Heaven.” Gill explains that he gained a special connection to the tune following the 2010 death of his friend Will Owsley.
“It’s a song I wrote with Amy my wife, and a fellow named Dillon O’Brian and another fellow named Will Owsley," he said. "This time last year, my friend Will [Owsley] took his life. He was a really gifted musician and a great singer and a tremendous guitar player. We wrote songs together and hung out together a bunch, and life just…he couldn’t get through it and struggled and took his own life.”