Two years ago, country-music great Vince Gill decided to write up a few songs for a new album. A few turned into 43, and after initially thinking he had to pare them down to a dozen or so for a single album, he decided to release them all in a single four-CD set entitled “These Days.”
Gill shrugged off his prolific writing abilities. “It’s not uncommon to write a song or two a day,” he told TODAY’s Matt Lauer and Al Roker between performing songs on the Plaza at Rockefeller Center. “Some you mess with for months and months, some just come pretty easy.”
He’s just finished a two-week tour with his wife, Amy Grant, and is headed back on the road for another three weeks.
He and Grant, who have been married for seven years, took their 6-year-old daughter, Corrina, with them on the first trip and will take Jenny, Gill’s daughter by his first marriage, on the second.
“We had the youngest the last two weeks,” Gill said. “She hula-hooped and sang. The next three weeks Jenny is going with us. She’s a great singer.”
So is Grant, a chart-topping contemporary-Christian and pop singer who is promoting her greatest-hits album, a sometime actress and the author of a new book, "Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far."
“It’s a collection of stories behind the songs,” she said. “It’s not a kiss-and-tell. It was so much fun. I think everybody should write, because it makes you value the things in your life.”
The 50-year-old Gill’s music crosses a lot of boundaries; he’s played with Eric Clapton and has been compared in the range of his material to Willie Nelson. He’s won 18 Grammys and a like number of Country Music Awards.
He says on his Web site, vincegill.com, that his inspiration for putting out four CDs of new material in one set came from the Beatles. They had success putting out multiple albums in a single year, and he thought he’d do the same. Then he carried it a step further and decided to do it all at once.
Rather than sing every song himself, Gill assembled an all-star group to sing lead and backup on the various tracks. They include Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Rodney Crowell, Phil Everly, the Del McCoury Band, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, John Anderson, Lee Ann Womack, Jenny Gill, Amy Grant, LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson, Guy Clark, Trisha Yearwood, Bekka Bramlett and Michael McDonald.
The engineer-producer is Justin Niebank and the musician-producer is John Hobbs.
The music runs the range from traditional country to ballads to up-tempo contemporary music.
Says Gill on his Web site: “I believe I’m better now than I’ve ever been, and my wish is for everybody to come along on this journey and really get the opportunity to see what I’m doing. The crux of it, for me, is that the desire and dream have not waned one bit. I am still moved by music, and wish others to be as well.”