Country legend Vince Gill is arguably one of the genre's biggest cheerleaders — in all its forms — and he has been talking about the lack of female artists on country radio for a long time, way before #SaladGate. So when radio consultant Keith Hill said stations should limit female airplay even more to secure better ratings, Gill was sure to have an opinion.

In a chat with Houston Press this week, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer came down heavily on the side of musical diversity.

“That's one of the greatest tragedies in this stretch of life for me,” Gill says, “Because I've been inspired as much or more by women artists, equally, than I have as men. So if there's only a couple that are getting the opportunity to really knock it out of the park at radio, then you just go, 'What about Patsy Cline/Kitty Wells/Tammy Wynette/Loretta Lynn?’"

“I could go on and on and on and on and name you about 50 great female artists,” the country mainstay continues. “And I don't know why that is. To me, they're making much more ... interesting records. They're saying more things I'd prefer to hear, lyrically and song-wise, and that's compelling. This Ashley Monroe kid, she writes songs like she's 80 years old. It's remarkable, and it's not dumbing it down. It's not going for the lowest common denominator. It's so refreshing, you know?”

Gill recently finished producing Monroe's second solo album, The Blade, which is expected to be released July 24. He has tour dates scheduled through Nov. 19, and will once again perform a string of Christmas shows in Nashville with his wife, contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant, this December.

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