The Country Hall of Famer and Bonafide Country Superstar has had a hugely successful career and is respected as a musician and professional. He’s recorded over a dozen studio albums, participated in multiple compilation projects and has sold over 26 million albums. With Guitar Slinger, Gill took matters into his own hands and recorded his first release in five years right in his home studio. As a result, the production crackles with live energy and allows the true warmth of Gill’s voice to shine.
Heartache, loss, love, and the spiritual journey are just a few bits of the subject matter covered on this album. And that signature high lonesome sound has a lot more to offer here than just pretty vibrato, as age has actually made Gill’s great voice even better. The passions are deeper, the truths are grittier, and the heart is bigger. All of that shines through each interpretation. This time, its personal.
He’s raucous and rowdy on the title track”Guitar Slinger” and on “All Nighter Comin’ ” and he delivers both with a slight honky tonk swagger. He’s having fun and it shows. Soulful rhythm and blues infiltrate the country with the standout track “Tell Me Fool” and again on “When Lonely Comes Around.” Country and Jazz collide in his beautiful tribute to Billie Holiday, “When The Lady Sings The Blues.” There’s nothing but pure country dressed in great steel guitar swells on “Buttermilk John” and “Billy Paul” showcases some great acoustic guitar work amongst a Waylon Jennings rhythm (phase shifter included) in a heartbreaker about a murderer…
“What made you go crazy, Billy Paul?
Was it true love or too much alcohol…”
“Bread and Water” is a throwback to 90s Vince, a beautiful ballad about a homeless man down on his luck and heavy in his heart. “True Love” is pure romance and sung with wife Amy Grant. Another excellent traditional country offering is “One More Thing I Wish I’d Said” which was written with Heart of Texas recording artist Amber Digby. And, perhaps the greatest of all the tracks, there is the stunning “Threaten Me With Heaven.” Gill is soul searching and spiritually profound, his voice emanating strength, purity and wisdom…
“If they say my time is through
can they take away the love
or the years I’ve shared with you
What’s the worse that could happen,
what’s the worse they could do..
Threaten me heaven…”
That whole “be yourself” thing really works. Guitar Slinger is the best Vince Gill album to date.
~ Andrea Fennel
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Andrea Fennel is native Texan who was raised outside of San Antone, and now resides in the outskirts of Phoenix. She’s a freelance writer for several music publications. She plays the piano, saxophone, guitar and cello and enjoys hiking, hang gliding, and certain hippie activities.
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