Sure, he’s a famous country frontman now, but Vince Gill got his start as a backing guitarist for Ricky Skaggs and Rodney Crowell. Gill became renowned in his own right during the 1970s as frontman for country rock band Pure Prairie League and then as a solo artist beginning in 1983 (the same year that the Norman, Oklahoma native moved to Nashville). These days, the 54-year-old has sold upwards of 22 million albums and has 18 CMA Awards and 20 Grammy Awards to his name. This is one performer who just keeps getting better and better. Gill’s 2006 box set, the 43-song These Days, won him his most enthusiastic reviews yet.
A true guitarist’s guitarist, Gill is a lover of all things strings. The multi-instrumentalist plays guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, Dobro and fiddle, but you’ll most often find him with his ’53 Telecaster in hand. Gill can be spotted all around Music City—cheering on the Nashville Predators alongside wife Amy Grant and perusing George Gruhn’s downtown guitar shop. The avid collector lost the majority of his vintage guitar collection—a total of 40 guitars—to the Nashville Flood of 2010, but the Telecaster survived because, of course, Gill had it on him when the flooding began.
Gill told The Tennessean, “I did lose a lot [of guitars] but I still have plenty. Amy put it into perspective when she said she could make a living with one guitar. I said, ‘You know what, you’re right.’” Despite the setback, Gill has kept trucking right along. This year he was the designated country performer at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. Check out the video below for Vince’s tasteful solo around 2:40 on this rendition of “Tulsa Time” with Eric Clapton and Sheryl Crow. Hot!