Vincent Grant Gill, 12 April 1957, Norman, Oklahoma, USA. Gills father, a lawyer who played in a part-time country band, encouraged his son to have a career in country music. While still at school, Gill joined the bluegrass group Mountain Smoke. He moved to Louisville in 1975 and joined Bluegrass Alliance before demonstrating his vocal, guitar, banjo and fiddle talents on the Pure Prairie Leagues albums Cant Hold Back, Firin Up and Something In The Night. In the early 80s, Gill moved on to Rodney Crowells backing group, the Notorious Cherry Bombs, and recorded an album with David Grisman, before inaugurating his solo recording career with a six-track mini-album for RCA Records, Turn Me Loose. His 1985 hit duet with Rosanne Cash, If It Werent For Him, was later withdrawn due to contractual difficulties. Gill also continued to work prolifically as a session musician and songwriter, working with artists including Cash, Emmylou Harris, Dire Straits, and Patty Loveless. The latter repaid the compliment by duetting with Gill on When I Call Your Name, which was named Single Of The Year by the Country Music Association in 1990.
Gills career took off at MCA Records and in 1991 he enjoyed several US Top 10 country chart hits with Pocket Full Of Gold, Liza Jane and Look At Us and was voted the Male Vocalist Of The Year at the 1991 Country Music Associations Annual Awards Show. In 1992, Gill went one better when he not only picked up the Male Vocalist Of The Year award but also the award for Song Of The Year with Look At Us, a song he co-wrote with Max Barnes. In 1992, additions to his chart successes included I Still Believe In You (number 1) and Take Your Memory With You (number 2), and he received a further three CMA Awards. Gill later revealed he had turned down the offer to join Dire Straits for their 1992 world tour, preferring to concentrate on his own career. Among performers and public alike, Gill is now established as one of the most successful figures in country music, and has won more CMA Awards than any other artist. The excellent When Love Finds You included a tribute to his brother and Keith Whitley, Go Rest High On That Mountain, with harmonies from Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs.
Gill has mainly concentrated on romantic ballads, although he proved he could turn his hand to soul music when he duetted with Gladys Knight on Aint Nothing Like The Real Thing (although, at the time, Knight was not even sure who he was). His duet with Dolly Parton on her incredibly successful I Will Always Love You was a US country hit in 1995, after they performed it at the CMA awards. Gill also proved he has a long future in the limelight by being an excellent host at the awards ceremony. High Lonesome Sound explored several styles of American music, with varying degrees of success. The Key returned him to the heart of the mainstream, gathering a number of major awards and reaching the Billboard Top 20. His 17-year marriage to Janis Oliver of the Sweethearts Of The Rodeo ended in divorce in the late 90s and in March 2000, he wed singer Amy Grant. His album, Lets Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye, followed a month later. The follow-up, Next Big Thing, was an important album that saw Gill restating his musical credentials. Gill was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.