Ramblin’ Rhodes: Vince Gill to bring wealth of musical talents back to Augusta

Vince Gill returns to Augusta at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, for a show at Bell Auditorium. J. WRIGHT/SPECIAL

You didn’t see it on CBS Sunday night because it was presented off camera, but country music superstar Vince Gill picked up yet another Grammy Award to add to his vast collection.

 

Gill, who returns to Augusta at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, for a show at Bell Auditorium, now has about 20 Grammys; more than any other country male performer.

His string began with his 1990 Grammy for Best Male Country Performance for his recording When I Call Your Name.

Others include Best Country Instrumental Performance (Cluster Pluck, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Bob’s Breakdown, A Soldier’s Joy and Red Wing), Best Country Album (These Days) and other Best Male Country Performance Grammys for his single tracks The Reason Why, Next Big Thing, If You Ever Have Forever In Mind, Pretty Little Adriana, Worlds Apart and When Love Finds You.

He also has won Grammys for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album (Rock of Ages, Hymns &Faith) and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (High Lonesome Sound).

His recordings of Go Rest High On That Mountain and I Still Believe In You won two Grammys each for Best Male Country Performance and Best Country Song, which goes to the songwriter. Gill began writing Go Rest High on That Mountain after the 1989 death of his bluegrass star friend Keith Whitley and finished it after the death of his older brother, Bob, in 1993.

Gill’s latest Grammy awarded over the weekend was for Kid Sister as Best American Roots Song, which he wrote about the late western swing singer Dawn Sears, who played with Gill in a band called the Time Jumpers. She died of lung cancer in 2014.

Three years before he began his collection of Grammy Awards, Gill was performing the summer of 1987 at Miss Kitty’s nightclub in the former Holiday Inn on Gordon Highway at Tubman Home Road.

His return trips to the Augusta area over the past few decades have included for performances at both Bell Auditorium and the then-Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center (now James Brown Arena).

He also has performed for both WKXC-FM’s Guitar Pull and the A Day in the Country music festival.

Gill is both a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1991 and an inductee into the Country Music Association’s Hall of Fame.

When he first started coming to Augusta he was married to Janis Gill, half of the Sweethearts of the Rodeo duo. They divorced, and he subsequently married Augusta native and gospel/pop star Amy Grant in 2000.

Gill credits his late father, Stan, a retired federal judge, and mother, Jerene, with instilling a love of music in him from an early age.

“My dad bought and played a lot of country records,” Gill told this columnist in a past interview. “My dad played a banjo and sang. My mom also sang. So I was exposed to country music early on.

“As I grew a little older I started turning the radio up and listened to rock and roll just like every other kid.”

Gill, born in 1957 in Norman, Okla., has listed his country music influences as Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and Webb Pierce and his bluegrass music influences as the Stanley Brothers and Louvin Brothers and others.

At 17, he first recorded an album with an Oklahoma bluegrass band called Mountain Smoke. He later became lead vocalist for Pure Prairie League and also sang with The Bluegrass Alliance with repeated Augusta visitor Sam Bush and with Sundance featuring Byron Berline. He also was a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band.

“Being with a bluegrass band definitely helped me become a better guitar player,” Gill told this columnist.

Tickets for the Augusta show are $39.50, $49.50, $59.50 and $75 from augustaentertainmentcomplex.com, James Brown Arena box office or by calling (877) 428-4849.

SHOUT OUT TO SHARON JONES: Country music star Dwight Yoakam, who will be performing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, at Bell Auditorium, gave a shout out to the late Augusta native and R&B superstar Sharon Jones during the 59th annual Grammy Awards.

Yoakam was introducing a performance by Sturgill Simpson, who would win a 2017 Grammy for Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. The performance of All Around You included horn section members of Jones’ band The Dap Kings, who also recorded the song on Simpson’s album.

COMING AROUND THE CORNER: Country duo Walker McGuire consisting of Texas-reared Jordan Walker and Kansas native Johnny McGuire will perform on Friday, Feb. 24, at the Country Club Dance Hall &Saloon, 2834 Washington Road. Walker has described their music saying, “If you took Keith Whitley and Tom Petty and intersected them at Matchbox 20, that’s kind of what we’re going for.”

Dailey &Vincent: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, Newberry (S.C.) Opera House, $30 and $40; call (803) 276-6264 or buy online at newberryoperahouse.com. The bluegrass duo of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent (Rhonda Vincent’s brother) are, along with Crystal Gayle, among the latest entertainers invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry. Dailey played in the band Doyle Lawson &Quicksilver, and Vincent earned several Grammy Awards as a member of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder band.

John Conlee: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans; $35 and $25; call (800) 965-9324 or online at itickets.com. Conlee, known for such major singles as (I’m Just A) Common Man, Miss Emily’s Picture and Rose Colored Glasses, has been a member of the Opry since 1981.

OTHER GRAMMY AWARDS YOU MISSED: There were dozens of other Grammy Awards presented off camera including some to past Augusta visitors:

Mark O’Connor, who has played fiddle/violin and guitar with Symphony Orchestra Augusta, won Best Bluegrass Album for Coming Home.

Sarah Jarosz, who has performed for both the Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul &Song series and Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que, won two Grammys for Best Folk Album for Undercurrent and Best American Roots Performance for House of Mercy.

Hillary Scott, one third of Lady Antebellum, won two Grammys for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song with Thy Will and for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Love Remains, which contains Thy Will. Both were recorded with The Scott Family which includes her mother, country star Linda Davis. Lady Antebellum, by the way, is the headlining act for this year’s Rock Fore! Dough to be held April 4.

William Bell, who has performed in Augusta many times and who was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1987, won a Grammy for Best Americana Album for This Is Where I Live.

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