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Backstory Takes Up Close & Personal Look at Vince Gill

Vince Gill photo by Tim Wright, courtesy of UMG Nashville.

Vince Gill is a member of both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, has sold more than 26 million records and has earned numerous industry awards. In Backstory: Vince Gill, GAC takes a look at Vince’s journey from a high school student working as a side man to a GRAMMY winner. The special premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30 at 8/7 CTFull schedule »

Watch a sneak peek here:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Born in Oklahoma, Vince got his start as everyone’s favorite side man, playing several instruments. He moved on to lead vocal duties and chart success with Pure Prairie League before moving back to side man work with the Cherry Bombs. “I was never shy about being a side man and I’m still not,” Vince said. “I love it, I almost prefer it. It’s still my favorite chair to sit in.”

Vince moved to Nashville in 1982 with his wife and young daughter after being signed to RCA Records. His three albums for the label yielded no real hits and suffered from sluggish sales. While loved by the label, creative differences led Vince to ask for a release from his RCA contract. “From a business standpoint, I got it instantly,” Joe Galante, then the RCA chief, said. “From an emotional standpoint, I was devastated.”

Vince soon signed with MCA Records, a move that paired him with an old friend and mentor, Tony Brown. “When I Call Your Name” became a hit single from his MCA debut in 1990, catapulting Vince into stardom. “I think everybody felt a sense of relief,” Vince said. “I’ll never forget it… how many people were just like, ‘Yes!’”

The hits kept coming for Vince and so did the awards. To date, he has won 20 GRAMMYS and 18 CMA Awards, just to name a few. He also served as host of the CMA Awards for 12 years, picking up two Entertainer of the Year awards while he was at it.

Outside of the music business, Vince is known for his tireless charity work. He has raised more than $5.5 million for junior golf programs throughout Tennessee and lends his time and talent to countless nonprofits around the country. An avid golfer, Vince spends almost as much time with his golf clubs as he does with his guitar.

“He is 99% of the time the mildest, meekest, most gentle guy you’d ever want to see,” Belmont University basketball coach and friend Rick Byrd said.  “But the one percent on the golf course, you better just ride along and be quiet.”

Vince married singer Amy Grant in 2000. “What I remember most is when we finished our vows and kissed each other, then we hugged and I thought, ‘Okay, whatever comes, if I can just face it with this guy, it’s going to be okay,’” she said of their wedding day.

Of the many honors Vince has received during his career, he says walking his oldest daughter Jenny down the aisle during her 2010 wedding is the greatest honor of all. “I’d have bet my life savings that my dad would’ve been the one just blubbering down the aisle,” Jenny said. “But it was just the opposite.  I made it halfway and just lost it.  He held my hand really close and said, ‘I got you buddy, I got you.’”

Despite all of his success, Vince continues to look forward to what’s next. “I’m so compelled at this stage of life to do so much more music than I’ve done to this point and it’s really fun,” Vince said. “It feels like being reborn, I want to get better, do more, make bigger contributions and really leave a legacy behind.”

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