Vince Gill has joined forces with one of the most celebrated instrumentalists in Nashville to pay homage to the musical influence of Bakersfield, Calif. on an upcoming album. The new disc sees Gill joining forces with steel guitarist Paul Franklin for a set of covers of songs made famous by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who pioneered the classic Bakersfield Sound.

Gill and Franklin co-produced the album, which is appropriately titled 'Bakersfield.' They recorded the ten tracks over two days at Gill's home studio, backed by a stellar band composed of John Hobbs on piano, Greg Morrow on drums, bassists Willie Weeks and Brad Albin, and J. T. Corenflos on electric rhythm guitar. Time Jumpers members Kenny Sears, Larry Franklin and Joe Spivey provided the fiddles, and Dawn Sears sang harmony vocals. Gill played all the acoustic and electric guitar fills and solos himself.

"This is just as much a guitar record for me as it is a singing record," Gill says in a press release. "But it was fun for me to sing a whole record of the greatest songs ever. I guess what I'm real proud of is that when it's one of Buck's songs, I sing it very much in that vein. And the Haggard songs are very much in the vein he sang. With Buck's songs, you won't find much vibrato in my vocals, and with Merle's, it will come down to a low note and that quiver."

Franklin feels the record contains some of Gill's best singing. "This may be Vince's greatest project," he declares. "What a showcase! I've heard him sing for 30 years, but he sings licks on this record I never heard before."

Haggard himself pitched in, writing the liner notes for the album. "Vince and Paul offer a great new touch on a great old sound," he enthuses. "It was great, certainly to hear my music done with the great touch of Vince and Paul. I feel highly complimented. But it was especially great to hear what they did with Buck's stuff. Some may not notice, but I for one knew how great Buck really was, first as a musician, then as an artist."

The country icon adds, "I can only give the entire project a big ole double thumbs up! Well done guys, the West Coast takes a bow."

'Bakersfield' is due on July 30 via MCA Nashville. It is available for pre-order at Gill's website and at Amazon.

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, 'Bakersfield' Track Listing

1. 'Foolin' Around'
2. 'Branded Man'
3. 'Together Again'
4. 'The Bottle Let Me Down'
5. 'He Doesn't Deserve You Anymore'
6. 'I Can't Be Myself'
7. 'Nobody's Fool But Yours'
8. 'Holding Things Together'
9. 'But I Do'
10. 'The Fightin' Side of Me'