Vince Gill Invites Hearing-Impaired Musician to Play With the Time Jumpers in Nashville [WATCH]
Vince Gill helped a fellow musician create a lasting memory at a recent concert. Joe Hannigan -- an artist in his own right, a fan of Gill's band the Time Jumpers and a hearing-impaired individual -- joined Gill and the Time Jumpers on stage at their Feb. 2 concert at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, Tenn., to play 'When I Call Your Name.'
A Utica, N.Y., native, Hannigan spent time in Boston, Mass., before moving to Nashville in 2011.
"I had a recording studio up north and was going to build another one down here after I got settled in," he says (quote via Saving Country Music). "And then I got hit by this thing."
By "this thing," Hannigan means that he went from having great hearing to being virtually deaf. He was diagnosed with Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCBS). Although he underwent a procedure to try and fix the issue, it didn't work; in fact, it led to further hearing loss and other debilitating and discouraging complications.
“I wanted to throw all of my guitars away. It was the most depressing time," Hannigan says. "Being told I was going to be deaf, it was probably the worst 6-8 months of my life. It’s like an artist going blind. It was like a gunshot. I’d been playing music since I was eight years old.”
Eventually, Hannigan and his doctors at Vanderbilt forged a solution -- one that allows him to hear through a cochlear implant and balance the sounds out with his good ear. It takes a lot of work, but Hannigan says that he is making progress.
Hannigan has always wanted to sing harmony with Gill, and he's seen the Time Jumpers several times. Via the band's website, he wrote "a little letter, just telling them about my experience and that I’d love to be able to have a chance to sit in." It worked.
"I got to say, Vince and the rest of the guys in the band were so nice to me," Hannigan says. "Vince even made a joke at the end of it when I was leaving, and he said, ‘We got to get those for everyone else in the band because you sing better than the rest of these guys.'”
As the video above shows, Hannigan and the band bantered back and forth before launching into 'When I Call Your Name,' and the response from the audience, plus a hearty handshake and thumbs up from Gill, says it all: Hannigan nailed it. The harmonies were spot-on.
When Gill isn't making dreams come true for fans, he's hard at work on his own music. He'll hit the road in March for the Vince Gill & Friends Tour with Ashley Monroe, Charlie Worsham and his daughter Jenny Gill. Plus, he and wife Amy Grant just announced a Ryman residency, set for December.
See a Childhood Photo of Vince Gill