Vince Gill Week Kicks Off
By Mike Duffy, Oct. 13, 2011
In light of his latest album being released next Tuesday, it’s only appropriate for Vince Gill to get a day in his honor. But the city of Nashville wanted to go for six more, and so Vince Gill Week kicked off Thursday in the heart of country music.
Gill, who already has 18 albums and countless country-music awards to his credit, has Guitar Slinger slated to hit stores on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
As Vince Gill Week suggests, it will likely be an event surrounded with much fanfare.
“I’m grateful that people are saying, ‘Well done,’” Gill humbly said.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the Nashville Predators, the Nashville hospitality industry and MCA Nashville were among those honoring Gill at the official announcement.
Honoring Gill’s “extraordinary talent and contributions,” Dean revealed that Gill will serve as the grand marshal of the 59th-annual Nashville Christmas Parade, which will be held Dec. 2.
“Vince Gill is a great musician, a great humanitarian and a great Nashvillian,” Mayor Dean says. “If there is a need in our community, Vince is always eager to step up and help. He truly embodies the spirit of generosity and charity that Nashville is known for.
“I am grateful for his many contributions and am pleased to recognize Vince Gill Week.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the way Fender chose to celebrate the living legend.
Nashville’s famous Musica statue – which features nine bronze nude figures in various states of dance at the center of the Music Row Roundabout – was adorned with five giant replicas of Gill’s infamous 1953 Fender Telecaster.
At the ceremony, Fender’s James Pennebaker also presented Gill with a new Eric Clapton-series Tweed Tremolux amplifier, a point-to-point hand-wired amplifier made at Fender’s custom amp shop in Corona, Calif. Gill is only the second person to possess this amplifier, behind Clapton himself.
Vince is the real deal; he’s the whole package: a world-class songwriter and singer with that incredible tenor voice and above all, truly a ‘Guitar Slinger,’” Pennebaker said of Gill, who is known for top hits such as “Pretty Littls Adriana,” “If You Ever Have Forever In Your Mind” and “The Reason Why.”
It’s no secret why Fender chose the white ’53 Telecaster to place in the hands of the Musica sculptures, as it is the same instrument that graces the cover of Guitar Slinger.
“Vince has always played a particular 1953 Fender Telecaster,” Pennebaker said. “I assume Vince sought out the Telecaster because it’s the guitar so many of his heroes played, like James Burton, Clarence White, Jimmy Bryant and on and on. Most of those heroes are now good friends of his, and believe me, Vince can hang with any and all of them. So now for many guitarists all over the world, Vince has become the hero.”
According to Pennebaker, the team that built the Telecasters included builders Dave Collins and Pat Soffe, graphic designers Leo Flores and Mike Whelan, and coordinator Tim Shaw.
In addition to Fender’s contributions, the Loveless Café will feature Gill as its Artist of the Month for November, and MCA presented Gill with a plaque commemorating 26 million albums sold, 24 No. 1 singles, 20 Grammy Awards and 18 Country Music Association Awards, as well his 20th anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry and inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.