Entertainment Weekly - 11/24/95, p.107
"...Whether spinning lightweight rhythm numbers or hotdogging his way around an electric guitar, Gill often repeats himself but seldom bores." - Rating: B+
Journal Of Country Music (Vol.18, No.1, pp.52-54) - "...reveals an ambition and range that belie his doe eyes, shy grin and tremulous voice....he's at his best when he soars alone....It's a measure of Gill's skill that he can take a fairly standard country shuffle...and give it fresh urgency on the strength of his snappy phrasing and curt guitar solo..."
SOUVENIRS is a compilation of songs from albums Vince Gill recorded for MCA between 1989 and 1992. It also features duets that originally appeared on albums by Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, and a cover of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why," from the Eagles tribute album COMMON THREAD: THE SONGS OF THE EAGLES.
Personnel includes: Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire (vocals).
Producers: Tony Brown (tracks 1-7, 9-14); Tony Brown, Reba McEntire (track 8); Steve Buckingham, Dolly Parton (track 15).
Includes liner notes by James Hunter and Vince Gill.
All songs written or co-written by Vince Gill except "The Heart Won't Lie" (Kim Carnes/Donna Terry Weiss), "I Can't Tell You Why" (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Timothy B. Schmit) and "I Will Always Love You" (Dolly Parton).
SOUVENIRS covers the beginning of Vince Gill's tenure at MCA Records, which is to say, his golden years. After struggling commercially at RCA in the '80s, the former Pure Prairie League singer and session musician jumped to MCA in 1989. There, he started turning out perfect country-rock ballads, featuring his high-tenor voice and impeccable rootsy pop arrangements. And unlike the Nashville competition, Gill wrote his own songs and played much of his own lead guitar.
He welcomed himself to MCA by co-writing (with Tim DuBois) "When I Call Your Name," an ode to loneliness fashioned as an echo of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." It won the Country Music Association's Song Of The Year award in 1991, and it's included here alongside the next two Song Of The Year winners ("Look At Us" and "I Still Believe In You"), off Gill's two subsequent albums. The CMA has always favored Gill's ballads, but he can rock out when he gets the notion: A perky fiddle and blues-rock guitar make "Liza Jane" a real musician's treat.
Gill is an incurable romantic, pledging everlasting love to women who love him back and even those who've dumped him. The only note that rings less-than-true here is his gool-ol'-boy tribute, "One More Last Chance," which suggests he's been too busy boozing with the boys to take notice of women. You can bet that this is one All-American boy who'd do nothing of the sort.
Personnel: Vince Gill (vocals, guitar).
Drawn largely from Vince Gill's first three albums for MCA Records, 1989's When I Call Your Name, 1991's Pocket Full of Gold, and 1992's I Still Believe in You, Souvenirs functions as a greatest-hits collection from what is arguably Gill's finest period as a solo artist. Gill's smooth tenor singing is practically the definition of modern slow-burning country sincerity, all done with a touch of that bluegrass "high lonesome" sound, and his ease with ballads frequently obscures the fact that he is one hell of a guitar player when he decides to be. Highlights on this easy to like set are duets with Reba McEntire ("The Heart Won't Lie") and Dolly Parton ("I Will Always Love You"), an interesting cover of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why," and the infectious and upbeat "Liza Jane," which lets Gill rock things out a little. Souvenirs isn't the last word on Vince Gill, who continues to record and release quality contemporary country and bluegrass albums, but there isn't a better single-disc introduction to the commercial side of his output than this one. ~ Steve Leggett