CD Review For Vince Gill's Guitar Slinger
Written by Sherry Bach
My only question is: "Who wouldn't fall in love with this CD?"
For many years I have enjoyed the creative works of Vince Gill as well as his wife Amy Grant, however, Guitar Slinger in my opinion is by far the best project Mr. Gill has ever created.
The title track, "Guitar Slinger" is a clever fun catchy lyric that claims Mr. Gill can …"drive the girls crazy with just one finger"; he means on the guitar ladies, calm down. The last time I heard someone use "one finger" in a creative work this successfully was on the classic "A Christmas Story". Remember? The father is struggling with the broken sexy leg lamp and goes out to buy glue, telling the wife, "Not one finger!"
"Tell Me Fool", reveals what I call a Michael McDonald influence in Mr. Gill's soulful sound and the song warns that the truth will eventually catch up when cheating on a spouse.
Every CD has a golden nugget, and "Threaten Me With Heaven" is surely the shiny object in the river of Guitar Slinger. "Threaten Me With Heaven" is so moving with life that it is almost like witnessing a live birth. Will Owsley is listed as one of the co-writers; he was Amy Grant's touring guitar player for years. "Threaten Me With Heaven" breathes for Owsley again if only for five minutes and twenty nine seconds….reminding us that great talent often leaves us too soon. Governing the creative mind with its attached depression and challenging aspects is not always an easy task, but "Threaten Me With Heaven" is an encourager that there is hope in believing in life after death and is my very favorite song from this project.
Other songs on Guitar Slinger like, "When The Lady Sings The Blues" reaches out to honor the blues community. Track 6, "When Lonely Comes Around" another co-write with Amy and Owsley offers hints of sadness experienced after a break-up. "True Love", a duet with Amy is just a charming testimony of the love that Vince and Amy share; it's almost tangible in this song. Amy's daughter Sarah Chapman sings background vocals on this track which just makes the sweet sweeter.
Earlier this year I asked Mr. Gill which three female names we should watch for over the next three years. His answer was: Sierra Hull, Kimberly Perry, and Ashley Monroe. With two co-writes and some background vocals on Guitar Slinger, Ashley Monroe is making her presence known as an artist respected by the guitar slinger himself. "Who Wouldn't Fall In Love With You?" is my second favorite song on this CD. Mr. Gill's unmistakable sexy lead guitar on this track as well as on the rest of the CD makes a person want to fall in love.
Listening through Guitar Slinger and reading through the CD jacket makes several things obvious, Mr. Gill knows how to surround himself with the best talent possible. Whether it is Bekka Bramlett, Dawn Sears, or Jenny Gill on background vocals; Paul Franklin on steel guitar; Leslie Satcher as a co-writer; or a number of other musicians and singers, one thing is for sure…Guitar Slinger exudes cream of the crop talent.
We are graced with background vocals from the youngest Gill on track 9 "Billy Paul" as the lyric tries to figure out what made Billy Paul go crazy. Was it true love or too much alcohol? I guess we'll never know for sure.
The video plays out in our imaginations as a stripper named Rita slips into room #23 at "The Old Lucky Diamond Motel" where a young man waits for his first taste of love.
What else can I say about the classic country sound of "If I Die" except that I would have loved to have heard George Jones sing this song when he was in his prime?
The closing track, "Buttermilk John" honors John Hughey, who was, in my opinion, history's greatest steel guitar player so far; the whole CD is dedicated to his memory. In fact, if I could give any negative critique at all of this CD it would be that my ears are missing Hughey's unique crying steel contribution to Mr. Gill's music.
In its entirety, Guitar Slinger is a flawless creative work, from the songwriting all the way up to the production; not that I have been a Gill fan for 34 years or anything (wink, wink), but if Guitar Slinger was not an unbelievable CD, more than worthy of a legal purchase, I would say so or just not write the review.
In closing, the answer to my original question is, an idiot!
Sherry Bach is a freelance writer, published author, and songwriter, who has been writing for forty years. Many of her works can be found online by googling "sherrybach".