Vince Gill turns 64 years-old this week. The country music veteran was born in Norman, Oklahoma, on April 12, 1957. Between 1983 (when he moved to Nashville) and 1990, Gill worked for various bands, wrote songs for other artists, released a bluegrass album, Here Today, and recorded three country music albums for RCA Records that did not sell in great numbers.
His big break came In 1990, when he scored a top 10 hit with "When I Call Your Name." Written with Tim DuBois, the song featured high and lonesome harmonies from Kentucky-reared Patty Loveless. The song won CMA Awards for Single and Song of the Year.
Between 1985 and 2017, Gill has charted 67 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including seven that reached number one. He has been honored by the Country Music Association with 18 CMA Awards, including two Entertainer of the Year awards and five Male Vocalist Awards. As of 2021, Gill has also earned 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other male country music artist.
Here are our favorite Gill's most inspirational songs from over the years:
1. "The Key to Life" (listen here)
The song is the title cut to Gill's eighth studio album. The folkish acoustic guitar-led tune finds Gill paying tribute to his own father. Gill's father's undying love and support of his career is beatifully narrated in this touching ballad: "But when he died the preacher cried and said he's the lucky one/He's walkin' hand in hand in hand with God's only son/My faith and common sense tell me the preacher's right/But I'd love to hear the banjo ring for me tonight."
2. "When My Amy Prays" (listen here)
While "The Key of Life" is about Gill's dad, Gill sings about his wife Amy Grant on the religiously-themed "When My Amy Prays." Gill tells Billboard: "What prompted that song was I think most people assume that I'm married to Amy, that I had the same kind of life she did and [was] big in the church and it really wasn't the case with me. They perceive me to be kind of similar to Amy and I'm just not...I know the best way to live is to honor your bride and so the song's intended to do that but also tell the truth about me....That's the one song I think I really cut loose and sang. The rest of this record is all kind of a singer/songwriter, not trying too hard to really sing big."
3. "I Still Believe in You" (listen here)
One of the most enduring love songs of all time. Unlike other lesser singers, Gill goes deep to describe what true love really looks like. In the song, the protagonist apologizes to his wife for being selfish and not spending enough time with her, before swearing allegience and faith in her and their relationship. The song is arguably Gill's most successful single, topping the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart.
4. "Go Rest High on the Mountain" (listen here)
Released in August 1995, "Go Rest High on the Mountain" is the sixth single from Gill's album When Love Finds You. It is a eulogic ballad where Gill wrote the song after the death of fellow artist Keith Whitley. Gill did not finish the song until a few years later following the death of his older brother Bob of a heart attack in 1993. Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless both sang background vocals on the record. The song also speaks of our eternal life that we can enjoy after death: "Go rest high on that mountain/Son your work on earth is done/Go to heaven a-shoutin'/Love for the Father and the Son."
5. "Tell Me One More Time About Jesus" (listen here)
Gill joins his wife Amy Grant to craft and sing "Tell Me One More Time About Jesus." The song can be found on Gill's 4-album box set These Days, released by MCA Nashville Records in 2006. Narrated from the perspective of how a man found Christ through the preaching of a country preacher, the song testifies to the power of the preached word: "His words were like a cool drink of water/He said, "Sinners come on down the aisle"/So I went runnin' for the alter/You should have seen my old friend, the preacher smile."