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Vince Gill Discouraged by ‘Mind-Numbing’ Country Music

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Vince Gill spent 30 years as an artist on a major label, the last 23 at MCA Records, before he parted ways with his record label earlier this year. The 55-year-old music icon acknowledges that the shift in his career has been difficult to accept.

“I still want to have hit records,” he tells Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette. “You never get that out of your system. But in some sense, I have been shown the door.”

Vince hopes to still churn out more albums, but not necessarily what is commercial today. “For me, [country music] lost its traditional bent pretty severely,” explains the tunesmith. “I would love to hear someone write a song like ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ rather than ‘You’re hot. I’m hot. We’re in a truck.’ It’s just mind-numbing to me.”

Vince admits he is dismayed by the current state of the music industry, and worried about its future. “Income streams are dwindling. Record sales aren’t what they used to be,” he notes. “The devaluation of music and what it’s now deemed to be worth is laughable to me. My single costs 99 cents. That’s what a [single] cost in 1960. On my phone, I can get an app for 99 cents that makes fart noises — the same price as the thing I create and speak to the world with. Some would say the fart app is more important. It’s an awkward time. Creative brains are being sorely mistreated.”

Now that Vince doesn’t have to meet a record label’s requirements, he is free to work on whatever he wants, which for him includes an upcoming album with his western swing band, the Time Jumpers. “I’m from Oklahoma,” he notes. “That stuff is like drinkin’ water to me.”

The singer-songwriter is also spending time on the road this summer, first on a 12-city bluegrass tour (backed by band members of the late Earl Scruggs), followed by several shows performing three decades of his own hits. Vince says fans should expect the unexpected.

“Night to night it varies,” he explains. “I always try to do a little bit of everything. Some gigs you get to play for only 75 minutes, or an hour and a half. Some you get to play for three hours. I’m always trying to make it interesting. What I try to do is serve the song. I really feel like the gift of being a great musician is playing what’s appropriate — and with the right guitar and the right sound, the right everything. That’s most important to me. Serving the song the best way possible. Let everybody shine, everybody play — makes it fun.”

See Vince’s concert schedule here.

Watch Vince Perform Live in Our Studio

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