Leah Harrison | Staff Writer
To kick off this season’s penultimate weekend, country music prince Vince Gill will return to the Chautauqua Institution at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater.
With a record 20 Grammy awards and 17 Country Music Association honors, including four “Song of the Year” titles, Gill is a legend far beyond his Nashville home. His more than 30-year career has traversed several genres, including a substantial tryst in bluegrass. Though his voice is not quite as high or lonesome as so many bluegrass stars, his tenor range and gentle but impressive talent with the guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and dobro make him an ample partner for the genre’s royalty, including Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless and newcomer Sarah Jarosz, who he performed with in June.
“Vince Gill is quite simply a living prism refracting all that is good in country music,” said Kyle Young on the occasion of Gill’s 2007 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. “He uses the crystal planes of his songwriting, his playing, and his singing to give us a musical rainbow that embraces all men and spans all seasons.”
Since his last performance at Chautauqua in 2008, Gill has released two albums: Love Songs in 2010 and Guitar Slinger, a continuation of a four-CD set released in 2006. Guitar Slinger is made up only of songs written by Gill, all recorded in his new home studio.
“I had a hard time getting started on a new record because (2006’s box set ‘These Days’) was so massive,” Gill says, as quoted on http://www.vincegill.com. “But I found my way through the songs that I liked. I just put a studio on my house so it was a much more relaxed atmosphere.”
Accompanying Gill will be guitarist Tom Britt; fiddler Stuart Duncan; keyboardist Pete Wasner; bassist David Hungate; drummer Billy Thomas; vocalist Dawn Sears; and guitarist and singer Jeff White.
“To say that Gill is a hopeless romantic would be a classic understatement about this gifted musician, who literally made a career out of analyzing the broken heart,” wrote Larry Robertson in his 2011 review for Jam magazine. “Some of the most important songs of his career, “Whenever You Come Around,” “I Still Believe in You,” “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” “The Heart Won’t Lie,” “One More Last Chance” and “Tryin’ to Get Over You,” had the same moving affect today as they did when they helped put Vince on the map. One thing that often gets overlooked about Vince Gill is how brilliant an overall musician he truly is.”