These Days

These Days

by Vince GillVince Gill

CD(Digi-Pak / Slip Sleeve)

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Apparently Vince Gill didn't set out to cut and release four albums containing 43 original songs all at once, but as he and some indefatigable musician mates got it rolling in the studio, the songs started piling up. Cutting across genre lines from country to rock to pop to gospel, These Days is not only one of the most audacious projects in country music history but also one of the best -- any one of these albums on its own would be considered among the finest of the year.

Workin' On a Big Chill: The Rockin' Record might also have been subtitled The Rockin' Soul Record, because it plants itself in greasy southern soul and pretty much stays there for 10 songs. A terrific cheating song, "Nothin' for a Broken Heart," features a salty guest turn by Gill's Notorious Cherry Bombs partner Rodney Crowell, and there's an abundance of horn charts influenced by the Memphis/Muscle Shoals axis, as well as chanting female choruses and slinky grooves that might as well have "Allman Brothers" written all over them, especially on the powerhouse workout titled "Bet It All on You." This disc introduces the dramatis personae for the whole project: Al Anderson sits in on guitar and pens more than a few songs with Gill; the guitarists are a Murderer's Row of pickers, numbering Richard Bennett and Steuart Smith along with Anderson (sometimes all playing on the same number, with Gill, a pretty fair picker himself, adding acoustic and electric throughout); and Michael Rhodes handles the bass. Typical of the surprises on the collection, "Son of a Ramblin' Man" (another Allmans connection, anyone?) is a herky-jerky, bluesy groove featuring Del McCoury on vocals and members of his band doing their thing in the midst of some familiar twin guitar solos, a moment that is about as far from bluegrass as the McCourys have ever ventured.

On The Reasons Why, Gill goes from "What You Give Away" (bolstered by a powerful 10-voice choir and an urgent guest vocal courtesy of Sheryl Crow) to a mellow saloon song, "Faint of Heart," that's strictly a closing time come-on, complete with a silky, sensuous guest vocal by Diana Krall, who engages in some cool give-and-take with Gill and adds her own spare, bluesy piano for the proper late-night glow. Later, Trisha Yearwood shows up to really lay the hurt on a sorrowful, jazz-tinged heartbreaker, "This Memory of You." Subtitled The Groovy Record, this disc features some of the most complex emotional scenarios of the set, many far from groovy, but they hurt so good.

Based on the evidence provided by Disc 3, Some Things Never Get Old, subtitled The Country & Western Record, Gill should have been on the scene in the late '40s through the '50s, when he would have fit in perfectly with Bob Wills, Ray Price, Hank Thompson, and Ernest Tubb. This is the prime-time disc in the bunch, so right on the money in every aspect. With Patty Loveless, Gill effortlessly cuts to the heart of the matter on a honky-tonk tear-jerker "Out of My Mind"; the delightful Ray Price-style shuffle "This New Heartache," also manages to cop some lyric quotations from Buck Owens; Gill's aching, graceful waltz "I Can't Let Go" soars with an ethereal harmony from Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski; straightforward and jubilantly rocking, "Don't Pretend with Me" is so true to Ernest Tubb's style of western swing that you can almost smell the sawdust and beer; "Sweet Little Corrina," is something the Everly Brothers might have cut, and indeed, Phil Everly drops by to add a familiar harmony vocal, with a guitar solo that would honor Chet Atkins. Emmylou Harris, Lee Ann Womack, and John Anderson (adding some macho assertiveness to Gill's "Take This Country Back," a furious complaint on the dearth of real country music today) all make memorable contributions.

Although subtitled The Acoustic Record, Little Brother is Gill's bluegrass album -- acoustic, yes, but bluegrass right up to the final two numbers, both being sensitive ballads: "Little Brother" and a somber "Almost Home," with Guy Clark enacting the father part of a mysterious prodigal's return song. Elsewhere, high energy rules the day, from the opening, Flatt & Scruggs-style gospel barnburner "All Prayed Up" to the Del McCoury Band's authenticating the earthy heartbreaker "Cold Gray Light of Day," as well as the rowdy road song "Give Me the Highway," both featuring Del's distinctive keening harmonies. Not the least of this disc's virtues is Gill's daughter Jenny singing a captivating high harmony with her dad on "A River Like You."

It's a journey like no other, These Days, and more than worth the price of admission. Gill's sprawling set says something vital about contemporary country music: how enduring and vital its traditions are, and how the past can inform the present in a way that remains ever timely and timeless.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/17/2006
Label: Mca Nashville
UPC: 0602498889619
catalogNumber: 000602102
Rank: 36942

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vince Gill   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,12-string Guitar,Baritone (Vocal),Soloist,Guitar Effects,Guitar (Resonator),Vocal Harmony
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Buddy Emmons   Steel Guitar
Alison Krauss   Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Del McCoury   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Guest Appearance
John Anderson   Vocals
Guy Clark   Vocals
Rodney Crowell   Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Patty Loveless   Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Trisha Yearwood   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Amy Grant   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Michael McDonald   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Bonnie Raitt   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Phil Everly   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Sheryl Crow   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Eric Darken   Percussion,Chimes,Tambourine,Bells,Vibes
Dawn Sears   Vocal Harmony
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Bekka Bramlett   Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Mike Bub   Upright Bass
Chad Cromwell   Drums,Tambourine
Mark Douthit   Tenor Saxophone
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Paul Franklin   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Carl Gorodetzky   Concert Master
Barry Green   Trombone
Mike Haynes   Trumpet
John Hobbs   Piano,Hammond Organ,Choir, Chorus,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Jim Hoke   Harmonica
Jim Horn   Horn
John Hughey   Steel Guitar
Rob McCoury   Banjo
Ronnie McCoury   Mandolin
Gene Miller   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Doug Moffet   Baritone Saxophone
Nashville String Machine   Strings
Justin Niebank   Choir, Chorus
William Owsley   Background Vocals
Michael Rhodes   Bass,Upright Bass
Steuart Smith   Electric Guitar
Billy Joe Walker   Electric Guitar
Pete Wasner   Synthesizer,Piano,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Wurlitzer,Hammond B3
Jeff White   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Vocal Harmony
Andrea Zonn   Vocal Harmony
Diana Krall   Piano,Vocals
Charlie Cushman   Banjo
Kim Keyes   Vocal Harmony
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals
LeAnn Rimes   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jon Randall   Vocal Harmony
Billy Thomas   Drums,Vocal Harmony
Lee Ann Womack   Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Jimmy Cox   Hammond Organ
Leslie Satcher   Vocal Harmony
Tom Britt   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Gut String Guitar
Wes Hightower   Vocal Harmony
Tom Bukovac   Electric Guitar
Rebecca Lynn Howard   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Desmond Pringle   Choir, Chorus
Benny Garcia   Choir, Chorus
Gretchen Wilson   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Katrina Elam   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Drea Rhenee   Choir, Chorus
Jenny Gill   Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance
Sonya Issacs   Tenor (Vocal)
Calvin Nowell   Choir, Chorus
Dan Tyminski   Vocals,Vocal Harmony,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Guy Clark   Duet
Rodney Crowell   Duet
Craig Allen   Art Direction
Neal Cappellino   Engineer
Terry Christian   Engineer
Vince Gill   Producer,Audio Production
John Hobbs   Producer,Audio Production
Jim Horn   Horn Arrangements
Steve Marcantonio   Engineer
Justin Niebank   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Michael Omartian   Horn Arrangements
Diana Krall   Duet
Jay Orr   Liner Notes
Drew Bollman   Engineer
Otto Kitsinger   Composer
Leslie Satcher   Composer
Tia Sillers   Composer
Terry Elam   Management
Larry Fitzgerald   Management
Mark Hartley   Management
William Matthews   Art Direction,Cover Painting

Customer Reviews