Vince Gill, ‘Guitar Slinger’ – Album Review
In some ways it's impossible for Vince Gill to make a lousy country album. That'd be like Paula Dean mixing up a bad batch of muffins; even her worst would be better than the average baker's blue ribbon best.
Gill's voice and guitar work on 'Guitar Slinger' are too pure and original to go unappreciated. However, the younger generation may miss this, as his songs show the grey in his hair. This isn't a bad thing; after all, the quickest way to make a fool of oneself is to act three decades short of the age on your driver's license. Gill has always been true to who he is, and his most loyal fans will appreciate songs like 'Tell Me Fool' and 'Billy Paul.' Fans of Jason Aldean and the Band Perry may politely cover up a yawn during these same moments.
'Guitar Slinger' is best heard through home stereo speakers; the project doesn't lend itself well to the car stereo. Gill's attention to detail is evident throughout the project, and the autobiographical title track is just one example. "There's a few licks left in this guitar slinger / Even though half of my stuff is in the Cumberland River," he sings, talking about the 2010 Nashville floods that washed out his and many other's storage facilities.
'The Old Lucky Diamond Motel' is a surprisingly edgy track. "Room 23 was the first time for me / Stripper named Rita Cantrell / Spent all of my money on that sweet Spanish honey / At the old Lucky Diamond Motel," Gill sings on this song about the loss of a broken institution for the wayward.
It's not the only one that takes on death. 'Threaten Me With Heaven' and "If I Die' also address the end of time. 'Guitar Singer' is a quietly dark album, but Gill has always been at his best on songs that run counter to his naturally buoyant personality. If there's a low point on the album, it may be a duet with wife Amy Grant. Both sing beautifully, but 'True Love' doesn't leave an impression like some others.