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Vince Gill scheduled for 2012 Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in October at Guthrie

Friendship between famed fiddler Byron Berline and Vince Gill spans decades
Oklahoman Published: July 29, 2012

/articleid/3696395/1/pictures/1785292">Photo - Vince Gill poster. Photo by Bryan Painter
Vince Gill poster. Photo by Bryan Painter

At Berline's house was an attached garage that served as a music room. Gill, who had played in bluegrass bands while in high school and afterward, got his guitar out and began.

“He starts singing a couple of songs off of that album and I said, ‘Man I've heard enough,'” Berline said. “I said, ‘As far as I'm concerned, you've got it.'

“I always knew he was going to be a big star. He had the talent, but it also takes a lot of perseverance.”

Living in California provided Gill an opportunity to meet so many music greats. The first gig he played with Sundance was at the famed Troubadour club in West Hollywood. Berline introduced him to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Gill's jaw dropped.

“It was just the greatest thing that ever happened to me to get to move out there to be exposed to the musicianship of so many different kinds of music, great jazz players, great rock players, everything,” Gill said. “It was so happening in the mid-'70s in Southern California.”

Gill remained with Sundance until joining Pure Prairie League in 1979. He was the lead singer on Pure Prairie League's pop hit “Let Me Love You Tonight.”

Gill hosted the Country Music Association Awards every year from 1992–2003. He was CMA's Entertainer of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and Male Vocalist of the Year from 1991-95. He has won 20 Grammys for his singing, songwriting, producing and instrumental talents.

Oklahoma roots

Gill was at the first Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in 1997 and returned in 2002.

This year, he plans to bring his bluegrass band with him to Guthrie.

The primary goal of the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival is to support youth through music scholarships and continuing music education opportunities. And Berline is thrilled to welcome a dear friend back to the event.

“Vince has never changed,” Berline said. “I think that's part of his upbringing his mom and dad instilled in him.

“And, he's from Oklahoma. People from Oklahoma appreciate what people have done for them. He doesn't forget that.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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To see a video about Byron Berline, Vince Gill and the upcoming Blue Grass Fest, scan the QR code below or go online to

If you go

Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival

• What: The mission of the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival Inc. is to organize an annual world class festival, to support the bluegrass industry in Oklahoma, to educate the people of Oklahoma and beyond about bluegrass music and its history and dominance in Oklahoma; and to promote the annual festival throughout the state, creating an ongoing state resource that serves Oklahoma's economic development. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, its primary goal is to support youth through music scholarships and continuing music education opportunities.

• When: Oct. 4-6

• Where: Guthrie

• For more information: Go to


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