Charlie Worsham on Touring With Vince Gill: ‘I Felt Like the Weakest Link’
Worsham, Ashley Monroe and Gill's daughter Jenny Gill joined him for a few dates in March, but they weren't simply serving as opening acts for the singer: The entire group played with Gill's band as one act, singing each other's songs, with Gill often playing a supporting role.
"It was the coolest thing, man," Worsham tells Music. People. Podcast. "It was really surreal, you know, to look over, and there’s Vince, like, singing harmonies on a song of mine and playing the solo on it, you know? And then him nodding to me to play a solo on one of his, and it’s all I can do not to play the one off the record ‘cause that’s the one I have learned."
Gill came up with the idea for the tour at last year's Jammin' to Beat the Blues event in Nashville. The group played together at the charity event, and Gill had so much fun that he wanted to find a way to take it on the road. The tour only lasted four dates, but Worsham learned a lot in that short time.
“On the Vince dates, I felt like the weakest link in the band, and that’s kind of scary, but it’s the greatest position you can put yourself in to get better and to be challenged," he says, "and so I felt like, in four days, I became immensely sharper as a musician because of the company I was in."
Worsham notes that performing for Gill's fans was a much different, and rewarding, experience than he has had playing for many other crowds.
“The thing about being on stage with Vince, in front of his crowd, is these are people who have followed him for decades ... You would feel weird about coming back in to sing after a solo because they would clap really, really hard and long for a solo. They got into it for a solo," he says. "And Vince is not one to, like, do splits on stage and run out into the crowd during a solo with a wireless. I mean, he’s plugged into a cord, and he’s where he is, and he’s got his eyes closed, and he’s pouring his heart out, and the audience, that was enough for them.
"That that was the most entertainment that they've ever needed in their life -- not any theatrics or production or anything," Worsham adds. "And I’m not knocking the other stuff, I’m not knocking the other audiences, but it was this really bizarre, strange, wonderful feeling to get that applause.”
For Worsham, the tour dates were also a chance to play with his "number one guy, influence wise," he says.
"I’ve always looked up to and tried to emulate him," Worsham says of Gill. "And he’s such a great blend of traditional country music, but he’s done so much to push it forward, in the past and even today."
See Charlie Worsham, Vince Gill + More Country Stars as Children