Vince Gill released his latest album, Guitar Slinger, in October of last year, five years after his last release of original music [read our review HERE]. Now, Vince is in a time of transition. His recording contract with MCA ended last year and while he still wants to make new music, he tells writer Rich Kienzle in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he realizes the country landscape has changed.
“I still want to have hit records,” Vince said. “You never get that out of your system. But in some sense, I have been shown the door.”
Vince, known for his traditional country sound as well as his love of bluegrass music, has issues with today’s mainstream country music. He feels fashion and gimmicks often take place of the truthful lyrics he reveres. “For me, it’s lost its traditional bent pretty severely,” he said. “I would love to hear someone write a song like ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ rather than ‘You’re hot. I’m hot. We’re in a truck.’ It’s just mind-numbing to me.”
It’s not just the sound of the songs on the radio that have changed. The business side of Music City has seen plenty of change itself. Vince compared the digital revolution of music to a certain app in the app store that costs the same as a digital single.
“Income streams are dwindling,” he said to the paper. “Record sales aren’t what they used to be. The devaluation of music and what it’s now deemed to be worth is laughable to me. My single costs 99 cents. That’s what a (single) cost in 1960. On my phone, I can get an app for 99 cents that makes fart noises – the same price as the thing I create and speak to the world with. Some would say the fart app is more important. It’s an awkward time. Creative brains are being sorely mistreated.”
One thing hasn’t changed though – Vince’s love of guitars. He has quite the collection of stringed instruments. The Nashville flood of 2010 ruined a big part of it, but Vince has since replenished it and plans to continue adding to it.
“That’s never gonna stop,” he told Kienzle. “Everyone’s calling me the Guitar Whisperer! I find these great instruments and bring them home, straighten them up, play ‘em on records and [onstage]. I have a great collection, but everything gets used.”
Vince will play some of those instruments next month. He has planned 12 bluegrass shows for June, kicking off June 13 in Richmond, Virginia and wrapping with a show in Wabash, Indiana on June 30. Sarah Jarosz will open for him on most dates.