Personalities | Vince Gill | Country Crossover Star | Guitar Heroes

Vince Gill (b. 1957) broke out of a respected but static 10-year career as a bandmember and solo act and into country stardom with the 1990 hit ‘When I Call Your Name’.

Gill was in the forefront of the neo-traditional country movement and became one of the biggest crossover singing stars in Nashville. It helped that he was an excellent country guitar player, capable of blistering solos in styles from hard rock to chicken pickin’.

Vincent Grant Gill was born in Norman, Oklahoma. At the encouragement of his father, a part-time country musician, Gill learned to play banjo and guitar before he started high school. By graduation he had advanced enough to get work in Ricky Skaggs’ Boone Creek and later Rodney Crowell’s road band, the Cherry Bombs. In 1979 he became a member of the country rock band Pure Prairie League and gained national exposure as lead singer of the hit ‘Let Me Love You Tonight’.

Gill signed with RCA Records in 1983, but had only a few charted hits. In 1989, he switched to MCA Records, where he recorded his breakthrough hit ‘When I Call Your Name’. He followed with Pocket Full Of Gold (1991), I Still Believe In You (1993) and When Love Finds You (1995). Eleven singles from those albums made the Top 3 on the US country charts, with four hitting No. 1, along with a No. 1 duet with Reba McEntire, ‘The Heart Won’t Lie’.

From there the accolades and awards poured in for Gill. Gill hosted the televised CMA Awards every year from 1992 to 2003. In 2004 he received a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. In 1997 he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall Of Fame in Oklahoma City. In 2007, Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, and in 2008, Gill won his nineteenth Grammy for Best Country Album, These Days, a four-CD set of 43 new recordings performed in a range of musical styles. Guest performers included Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Diana Krall, Trisha Yearwood, Michael McDonald, Bonnie Raitt, LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson and Gill’s wife Amy Grant, among others.

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