Vince Gill fans, wait no more! Late this summer, he’ll release his first single in four years, “Threaten Me With Heaven,” which he co-wrote with wife Amy Grant, Dillon O’Brian and Will Owsley. The song is from his upcoming album, Guitar Slinger, due out this fall.
“Since the song was recorded, my friend Will Owsley took his own life, so the song has a profound impact on me now,” said Vince. “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.”
Also on Guitar Slinger are the moving songs “Bread and Water” and “If I Die,” as well as more lighthearted tunes that feature Vince’s unmatched guitar skills. Vince 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 said. “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.
Recording at home was a creative process. “I had no expectations of what it would sound like in my home studio,” he said. “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,” added Vince. “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.”
On this new CD, Vince’s fans will find what they’ve always found with his music — great songs. “All I ever want to be is honest, truthful and authentic,” Vince said. “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.”
Vince 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, he’s 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.