Oklahoma native Vince Gill already has 20 Grammy Awards and a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but the 55-year-old is hardly resting on his laurels.
“There’s a little bit of everything going on,” Gill recently told Billboard. “Next month, I’m starting a new record on me. I’ve also just recorded a duet album with Paul Franklin that is a real traditional country record. We did five Buck Owens songs and five Merle Haggard songs that really feature the steel guitar, my telecaster playing, and me singing, so it’s turning out so good. I’m having so much fun re-discovering these old songs. I’ll probably also do a bluegrass record this year, as well. I’ve just got the bug to be creative in a bunch of different places.”
In addition, he is delving into production, most recently producing Pistol Annie Ashley Monroe’s solo album “Like A Rose,” set for March 5 release on Warner. In the past he has produced projects for Sonya Issacs and LeAnn Rimes.
The singer/songwriter/musician told Billboard he thinks there’s not a lot of difference between being the artist or a producer: you just have to know your role.
“I think it’s the same. All you’re really doing is trusting your ears. And trying your hardest to not get in the way of a great song and a great vocal performance. You just pick your spots where you try to nip and tuck things. I think they should call it a ‘reducer’ rather than a producer, because the object is to edit things, get what is the most necessary, and discard the rest,” he told the trade publication.
As previously reported, Gill also had a busy 2011, contributing to Rodney Crowell and Jamey Johnson’s star-studded albums and embarking on a bluegrass tour. As a member of the Western swing supergroup The Time Jumpers, he was instrumental in the band’s Grammy-nominated self-titled studio album, released in September.
Gill’s Billboard interview just affirms what he told me in a phone interview last fall:
“You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t make two or three records next year. Different things. I really got a million ideas of things I want to do,” he told me then.
“I’ve got the studio at the house and I’m probably at the height of creativity that I’ve ever been and more driven to be creative just because of my age and just realizing I don’t know how long my fingers will stay nimble and how long my voice with stay strong and all that. You know, if I have a brain, if it’s able to make up songs,” Gill added, laughing good-humoredly.
“So, I’m at the best place I’ve ever been.”