Bluegrass has always held a special place in Vince Gill’s heart. Early in his career way before the country music days Vince was out there playing bluegrass. To this day he reveres the music that his heroes such as Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe made famous. Every year the Ryman Auditorium puts on a series called Bluegrass Nights. It is a series of 6 shows on Thursdays during the summer months. Vince has always loved being invited to participate in this event and can usually be found filling one of those Thursday slots. This year he decided a little more bluegrass would be just the way to spend the summer so he decided to take his bluegrass show on the road playing 12 stops along the way.
On Thursday June 21st his show made its appearance at the Ryman. Opening for Vince was a multi-talented instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Sarah Jarosz. She has joined Vince for a few shows out on the road. Her amazing talent and grace on stage makes you know she was born for this. The audience cheered as Sarah warmed up the crowd with her poetic songs and remarkable skills on the banjo, guitar and mandolin.
After Sarah it was time for Vince to come out along with some very esteemed musicians. Vince said these guys were the best of the best and half way through one song it was evident that was true. Joining Vince on stage was Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Jim Mills on banjo, Dennis Crouch on bass and Jeff White on guitar. Vince of course can sing those high parts and pick on that guitar and mandolin like nothing you have ever seen. He joked that one of the many reason he loves bluegrass is because it’s cool to sing high. Everyone’s toes were tapping and hands were clapping as one great bluegrass song after another was sung. They played “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms,” “Blue Moon Over Kentucky,” My Walking Shoes Don’t Fit Me Anymore” and many other classics. In addition they played some of Vince’s bluegrass material like “High Lonesome Sound,” and “Cold Grey Light of Gone.”
The band got to go take a quick break and Vince did a little solo set with just him and his guitar. He joked and told stories while treating the audience to a few of those classic Vince hits like “When I call Your Name,” “The Key to Life” and more. Afterward the band joined Vince again for some amazing sounding bluegrass. Before the night was over Sarah Jarosz returned to the stage to join the guys for “Deep River Blues” and “Crying Holy Unto the Lord.”
I also caught another one of Vince’s bluegrass stops in Hiawassee Georgia June 23rd, which was also a tremendous show. Here Vince had the talented Aubrey Haynie on fiddle and added a guitar player with the talented songwriter Jon Randall. He treated us to an amazing rendition of “Whiskey Lullaby” which he wrote with Whispering Bill Anderson. These bluegrass shows are the most excellent example of pure talent at its finest. While Vince is known for his country music, you can tell bluegrass runs deep in his heart and soul. If you get a chance to catch Vince’s bluegrass show expect to be thoroughly entertained.