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Album Spotlight: Vince Gill, ‘Down to My Last Bad Habit’

Down To My Last Bad Habit Cover Art
MCA Nashville

With Down to My Last Bad Habit, Vince Gill introduces himself to a younger generation of country music fans without sacrificing the lyricism, integrity and compelling blend of styles he’s been known for for decades.

Gill is a Country Music Hall of Famer that, to anyone under 20, is just the guy who cries a lot and used to host that awards show. The format needs great, accessible songs from this 58-year-old like it needed Chris Stapleton‘s Traveller one year ago. At its best, Down to My Last Bad Habit feels as familiar as your favorite pair of jeans — comfortable, good for many occasions and rarely boring. It’s a thing of beauty, but never sexy. Almost never.

The chorus to the opening track (“Reasons for the Tears I Cry”) rings with urgency that’s replicated on songs like the swampy “Make You Feel Real Good” and earnest “I’ll Be Waiting for You,” a collaboration with Cam. This isn’t a driving record. In fact, if you’re feeling sleepy don’t put on this collection of 12, mostly mellow songs unless you’re hoping drift off to sweet dreams.

But not every album needs to hit like Red Bull. Down to My Last Bad Habit is an artist’s record, with eclectic sounds placed just so in an effort to present one long landscape portrait. “Like My Daddy Did” is a sweet love story that would make a great single in ’96, ’06 or ’16. Conversely “One More Mistake I Made” stings the heart with a mournful lyric and distant trumpet crying into the night.

A few like “My Favorite Movie” and “When It’s Love” — placed between “I’ll Be Waiting … ” and the George Jones tribute song “Sad One Comin’ On” — get lost in the emotion, but one could also argue they provide a place to breathe. The industry is going to need to rally for Gill like they did Stapleton to make Down to My Last Bad Habit a huge commercial success, but those that commit will come back often for years to come.

Key Tracks: “Reasons for the Tears I Cry,” “Like My Daddy Did,” “One More Mistake I Made”

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