Vince Gill Talks About His Future With the Eagles
Vince Gill chose this life. As his contemporaries relax, the Country Music Hall of Famer leads his fine-tuned band to another theater, shed or festival. Between July 1 and Dec. 31, he'll play over 30 solo shows and finish a new album. Technically, those are his off days.
A massive tour with the Eagles began in earnest in March and goes through October. Gill — a truly generous cross-genre star who names the legendary rock band as amongst his greatest influences — signed on for a pair of July 2017 reunion shows and has since called being asked to fill in for the late Glenn Frey bittersweet. The two were very close prior to Frey's 2016 death, but he's also friends with Don Henley and Joe Walsh. Timothy B. Schmidt and Frey's son Deacon round out the billing.
It's clear a new generation of country artists keeps the 61-year-old invigorated. Speaking to Taste of Country prior to an August stop at WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minn., he revealed what's next for him and the Eagles and why he continues to say "yes" while his '80s and '90s country music peers (Alan Jackson, George Strait) are in quasi-retirement. This conversation took place moments before Gill took this celebrated festival stage for the first time in over two decades.
"They’ve got a lot of posters around of folks who’ve played here over the years, and back in ’91 I was those guys," he says, smiling. "I was the kid and now I’m the old guy. It’s kind of cool."
You’re about to finish a great run with the Eagles. Is there a distinct feeling or memory you’ll take away from this tour?
Just gratitude that I was the guy they decided would work. Just that. Because Glenn was a great friend, and in my heart of hearts I wish I wasn’t doing it. That would mean Glenn would still be around, but life is what it is and you just go do what you can do because of what happens. Those songs deserve to live on as long as they can.
What happens next? Between you, Don, Joe and the rest of the band the relationship has to continue somehow doesn’t it?
I’m the new guy in, I don’t have a vote [Laughs]. I just do what I’m told and life goes on pretty peacefully that way. I have no idea how long this will get to go on. I think they enjoy having me in the band and want me to stay as long as they want to do it. I think until they hang it up I’ll probably be around.
You’ve performed with everyone except for Jesus. Is there anyone that makes you nervous?
Everybody kind of makes you nervous no matter what stage, when I was 17 years old trying to figure it out or now at 61. It’s just been, show up and see what happens and answer the phone when it rings. You never know who’s gonna be on the other end. I chose to wanna collaborate with people my whole life and I think it’s near about 1,000 records I’ve worked on. I couldn’t have dreamed that up in a million years, so I’m just gonna keep answering the phone.
Is there a new artist out there who you think is really special?
The one that I think is easily one of the most talented people I’ve ever heard is Charlie Worsham. I think it’s just a matter of time, the right record at the right time for him and he’ll bust wide open. He’s too talented not to. It’s an undeniable thing.
Are you working on new music (Gill's last album was Down to My Last Bad Habit in 2016)?
Yeah, I got a new record coming out. I don’t know when they’re gonna put it out but I’m almost finished.
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