Vince Gill is such a mellow country star, when he married singer Amy Grant in 2000, Grant’s son Matt turned to him and said, “You smoke a lot of dope, don’t you?”
Gill tells me this story and exhales an easy laugh.
“That’s something I’ve never done. I’ve never smoked any dope. And nobody believes it, because I’m so laid back,” Gill said.
Matt, who was around 13 at the time, didn’t buy his new step-dad’s peaceful temperament at first, Gill said.
“He goes, ‘I don’t believe you — I think you’re high right now.'”
Gill (who performs Friday in the Palms’ Pearl) is also a lucky musician in that he’s never been a suffering artist.
“I don’t recall any stretch of life when I wasn’t pretty happy,” he says. “I mean, even when I was struggling professionally or personally, I still managed to find pretty good jokes to tell.”
What’s the secret to Gill’s demeanor? Probably genetics.
“My mom’s pretty happy. My dad was. At times, he could be the life of the party, but he could also be kind of grumpy. I just always had a pretty good joy about me, no idea why,” Gill says.
I told him he should write a self-help book, but he joked, “I think I better read a book before I write a book.”
Gill says he’s even had an easy time with music.
“In my teenage years,” he says, “I was playing bluegrass a lot, and the people that came to see you really loved the music. I never had a long stretch of playing where everybody ignored you.”
That acceptance by crowds instilled in him a positive musical spirit.
“A real musician — every note they play, matters. It does for me. When I’m playing live, every note I sing, I’m trying to sing as good as I can possibly sing it, and I’m trying to play the coolest thing I know how to play.”
What’s one of the most valuable lessons of his long, award-winning career?
“When you’re young, you’re like a sponge. You’re trying to take in all this information, all these licks, all these notes, all these songs,” Gill says.
“And then after you take it all in, you spend the rest of your life trying to discard what you don’t need.”
Wisdom (like self-editing skills) is a grace of growing older, he says.
“I was doing a session, once, as a kid in the studio. It was my turn to play whatever I was playing. I played it. The producer (says), ‘That’s nice, man. This time, just play me HALF of what you know,'” Gill says and laughs at the memory. “You say the most with the least.”
Contact Doug Elfman at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. Find him on Twitter: @VegasAnonymous