For one record, Gill got to be “that guy,” as Phil made one of his final recorded performances on “Sweet Little Corrina,” a cut from his 2006 box set "These Days." Vince said that he counts that as one of his greatest career blessings.
“It was one of those things that I thought could never possibly happen. I just assumed that Phil would only sing with Don. That’s the only way you ever expected to hear them was together. I was beyond flattered that he said yes. It really meant the world to me.”
Just a few weeks earlier, the world mourned the loss of another Country Music Hall of Fame member that Gill also got to work with on a few occasions: Ray Price. He says he doesn’t take moments like that lightly.
“There’s a feeling of gratitude more than anything else -- just being grateful that I got that opportunity. I pinch myself. I know at times I’m jaded, but not when I’m around people that were some of my heroes. I can’t believe they actually wanted me to do something with them. That is never anything other than a surprise to me.”
Over the past few years, Gill has definitely paid it forward, producing projects by acts such as LeAnn Rimes, Sonya Isaacs and Ashley Monroe -- whose "Like A Rose" disc was selected by The 615 as the top country album of 2013. He’s been working in the studio with another special vocalist: his daughter, Jenny.
“It’s been fun watching her shine. It doesn’t have anything to do with me being a musician, but I get to see her as her dad. That’s when it’s good, when you just get to be the father. I helped her make the record, produced, and have a lot of heart and soul in every note of the record. I was going to leave no stone unturned for her, but she’s got it going on. She’s a killer singer, writes great tunes, and has some incredible instincts. She’s got a great future, and I know she does. She’s chomping at the bit. I’m trying to help her when she needs it, but I want her to own it and figure it out, and she is!”
Gill and Paul Franklin spoke to Billboard about their tour behind the "Bakersfield" album, as well as a new expanded version of the album that teams the duo with Cracker Barrel. Look for that conversation on Monday (Jan. 20) in The 615.