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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 25, 2011
Prime Cuts: Who Wouldn't Fall in Love with You; When Lonely Comes Around; True Love (with Amy Grant)

Gill's album titular "Guitar Slinger" is a bit of a misnomer. On a cursory glance, the title "Guitar Slinger" might suggest that this is an instrumental album in the likes of Brad Paisley's "Play" or Steve Wariner's "Guitar Laboratory." Still others might think of this set as a showcase for Gill as a guitar virtuoso. Definitely Gill does show off his expertise at picking the nylon on various tracks, but this is essentially a contemporary country record with Gill in top vocal form waxing with eloquence his silky tenor over 12 songs he co-penned. In keeping with his stellar tradition of telling compelling stories, here the stories abound. Whether if he's telling the story of a homeless person ("Bread and Water") or a man contemplating suicide ("Billy Paul") or his own romantic journey ("Guitar Slinger"), Gill still has the ability to capture our imagination with his creativity and his attention paid to the stories' emotional and spiritual details. With such a galore of rich stories, it would have been better to title this disc "Story Slinger." Coming 5 years after his last release "These Days," Gill has not lost his touch of creating music that interweaves the stories of his protagonists with our own stories. Many of these cuts are fresh, engaging and above par relative to what's out there on country radio now; given the right promotion this is pregnant with hits ready to be birthed.

Album opener is an exceptional Gill barnburner: it bears all the imprints of greatness. The Jerry Lee Lewis-type piano jamming, the stately anthemic build up to the explosive chorus and the all so-romantic lyrics of how a guitar slinger found true love with that "contemporary Christian singer." And the "contemporary Christian singer" (aka wife Amy Grant) does show up on the album's sophomore single "True Love." Here Grant and Gill trade lines over this breezy ballad about the persistency of love in the midst of trails over a sturdy background of affecting strings. Grant shows up also as a co-writer on two other tracks: one of them being the lead single "Threaten Me with Heaven." This moralistic tale of not taking life for granted is a multi-layered busy number comes with a Gospel-inflected chorus that is made much more haunting when one of the co-writers Will Owsley committed suicide some time after writing this song. The question thus lingers: did Owsley ever take the lyrics of this song to heart? Grant again shows up in co-penning "When Lonely Comes Around." Given that one of Gill's album titles and hit was "When Love Comes Around," "When Lonely Comes Around" automatically calls to mind the earlier cut.

Leslie Satcher who has written Kellie Pickler's "Tough" and George Strait's "Troubadour" teams with Gill to write "Bread and Water." This is the album's richest narrative gem where both Gill and Satcher interweaves the story of a homeless person with the stories of Jesus in the Bible. Most arresting is the line "even Jesus was a homeless man." This is the type of song that really challenges our souls to think deeper about Jesus and social issues. Gill is not afraid to step out of his comfort zone when he dives into Southern R&B traditions of long lonesome electric guitar solos with the Delbert McClinton-like "When the Lady Sings the Blues." Gill goes further in the country-soul territory with "Tell Me Fool" which again sounds in tune and title like his former album cut "Tell Me Lover" (from his "High Lonesome Sound" CD). Gill takes on the Bakersfield sound with the sweepingly catchy "Billy Paul" which guises the dark plot about a murder-suicide story.

Above all, Gill is still at the best when he croons a love song. This is why a glance through Gill's hit-studded discography shows that many of his biggest hits were love songs ("Feels Like Love" and "I Still Believe in You"). Here Gill melts hearts again with "Who Wouldn't Fall in Love with You"--a sonic arrow to the heart that is compellingly sung with earnestness. On an album this good, to say that Gill is just a "guitar slinger" is a misnomer in itself. No, he still is country best crooner of story songs.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2011
In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit I am a huge Vince fan and doubt he would record anything I just didn't like. I've had this album now for about 6 hours and haven't picked a favorite, which is hard to do since all the songs are very well written, played and, of course, sung. It is a great follow up to his last endeavor "These Days." These songs talk of death, life, hope and love, and a motel with "color tv and the kids eat free" [The Old Lucky Diamond Motel]. This album is somehow quintessential Vince and at the same time it is different. It is, unsure how to explain it, smoother...sophisticated...damn good. In the title song, "Guitar Slinger", he sings "If ya'll just show up and cheer for me, I swear I'll play for free". Well, I am definitely cheering.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
Hall of Famer Gill mixes it up with rockabilly, traditional country, inspirational, blues, and pop on this must-have CD. It's worth the wait (5 years since his last new release) and the few extra bucks for the 3 bonus tracks. He hasn't sounded better and this is one not to disappoint any country music fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2013
I've never been exposed to country music. I grew up studying classical violin and now i play jazz. I bought this cd as a gift for my boyfriend who likes country music and Vince Gill in particular. Since we live together I have heard the cd from beginning to end quite a few times and found that I really like it! "Guitar Slinger" is a great song I knew my boyfriend would enjoy bc he builds and plays electric and acoustic guitars. The other songs are great too. The song I really like though is "When the Lady Sings The Blues" which appears to be about my absolutely favorite singer, Billie Holiday!!! Who knew a country singer like Vince Gill would include a song about Billie! I no longer consider country music and country artists as alien life forms from another planet somewhere out in Hee Haw land! Vince Gill's cd has opened the door to country music for me. Thanks Vince!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2011
Although I've collected Amy Grant's music for years, I only had a passing familiarity with her husband Vince Gill's music, and did not own any of his CDs. Recently, when I saw Vince on the CBS "Saturday Early Show," doing an acoustic version of the title track to his new CD "Guitar Slinger," I decided to check it out, and I'm glad I did. The first two tracks are rockabilly at its finest and would make Carl Perkins proud; there is one track that is a tribute to the great Billie Holiday, and a duet with wife Amy Grant on "True Love." Gill's daughters also sing background vocals throught the album, and Grant also co-wrote "True Love" and a couple of other tracks, and also contributes background vocals, in addition to the duet.

This is Vince Gill's first new album in 5 years, and it is a very fine effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2011
Absolutely love the cut Who Wouldn't Fall In Love With You, which Vince co-wrote with Ashley Monroe. Also love the guitar solo in the song, but mostly love the song's poignancy. The CD is filled with great stuff....a haunting murder-suicide ballad he sings about a real friend of his (Billy Paul); a bluesy cool tune, When the Lady Sings the Blues; Tell Me Fool a song I swear is about the cheatin' heart of Tiger Woods (if it's not it should be); and Bread and Water, a touching song he sings about his brother. Each and every song is special....the CD is certainly worth a listen. Vince is a master story teller, composer and musician: an artist through and through. Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
Very unusual for Gill. He is by far my favorite. This album has an unattractive cover, and the only one I have seen that I don't care for. Only two or three of the songs on this album would, in my opinion, rate a five star rating. Too much like Pop, which I don't care for. His bluegrass is superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
Vince is my all time favorite country artist. Noone can do it all like Vince! This album is a good one as expected, however, its hard to top, "These days". he hit it out of the park with that one!! Regardless, if you are a Vince fan as I am, you can never go wrong with anything he puts out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2011
It's been five long years since Vince Gill's epic 2006 4-disc release "These Days", an amazing collection of 41 songs that showcased just what this amazing singer, songwriter, and guitar player could do. Many wondered how in the world he could have followed up that incredible accomplishment and brilliant piece of work. Simple. He just does what he always does. Write, sing, play and make great music. In an age where country music and country radio is one note, bland and has a handful of male singers who sound like the same generic cowboy that I couldn't identify even if I wanted too, it makes the heart feel good to hear great music from a voice who was away for far too long.

Things kick off in a fun, upbeat way with the title song, "Guitar Slinger". It's a classic sounding up tempo ditty that sounds like it could of been a lost take from the "These Days" set. I especially love the line about how he went and married that "contemporary christian singer". Things then get a little funky with "Tell Me Fool", an R&Bish number that again demonstrates Gill's virsitility. After that, the CD brings us to the first single and, as Gill himself has said, 'the crown jewel of the album', the beautiful "Threaten Me With Heaven". Vince has always had a way of delivering these classic ballads and this one deserves to be up there with the best of them. It touches you and makes you soar right along with it with Vince's vocals. A song destined to be a classic in Gill's already jam packed catalog. There is still so much good stuff here. One of my favorite tracks is "When Lonely Comes Around". This has hit single written all over it. I would be shocked if that didn't end up happening. Another strong vocal performance from Vince. The music intro to the song almost sounds like a Lady Antebellum song in a way. "Who Wouldn't Fall In Love With You" is a gorgeous ballad with another heavenly performance from Vince. I love the funkiness of "When The Lady Sings The Blues". It has a funky sound and vocal performance. There is a darker side to some of the material here. "Bread And Water", about a homeless man, is a strong piece of work. Lyrically, it's one of the best country songs of the year. It hits you deep and stays there. "Billy Paul" is a pretty catchy song for a pretty serious and dreary subject matter. A tale of murder and suicide, the song actually has a jaunty kick to it. Gill's wife Amy, who co-writes some songs on the CD, shows up for the duet "True Love". I have always liked Amy's voice, and the two of them are always harmonious together. I don't love the song, but it's nice. Same with "If I Die", "The Lucky Old Diamond Motel" and "Buttermilk John".

It's no secret that Vince Gill is one of the premiere guitar players of his group and his genre, but I don't think he gets enough credit for his songwriting. He can weave a tale like nobody's business and make you hear it, think it, and feel it. The same cannot be said by a lot of today's music. It's a shame that Vince's music, and that of many others, doesn't get the attention it should by radio like it used too.

In the end, "Guitar Slinger" is a fine CD. I don't feel it is on par with "These Days", or even 2003's "Next Big Thing", but it is a great release. It's full of great songwriting, storytelling, musicianship and, of course, amazing singing. It is an album only Vince Gill could make, and will join his other classics nicely. The man just keeps getting better and better at everything as his career rolls along. No matter what, Vince Gill always delivers the goods. In this day and age, that is getting harder and harder to come by.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2011
First of all this is a very good cd. It doesn't quite stand up to the masterpieces of "The Next Big Thing" and the boxed set "These Days", but it is still quite good overall.
Anyone who follows Vince Gill will concede that he is a tremendous musician, and coupled with his uniquely toned/harmonic voice, can make songs sound quite dreamy. (if he wishes to) He is simply very versatile and this spells out artistic mastery in capital letters.

What separates this cd from the above mentioned titles? IMO It's because maturity, age and commitment have influenced the composition. While not a bad thing for him personally;(because family should be at the top of anyone's life), it may not bring out the best musical material/composition if it starts to dominate your music. Why ? well it's only my opinion, but here goes my best guess;

Male musicians/artists tend to lose their edge when a woman begins to dominate their lives. Their songs start to lose their zest, and overall public appeal, as they become more private. Getting all gooey in love is good for the personal soul, but not generally the best connection point to the public. Most of us so-called musical connoisseurs are not interested in how much you love your wife/partner, we just want to hear good music and not someone's love letters portrayed in music.

examples might include, Keith Urban and to some extent John Lennon

Of course this is just my opinion, but talent such as Keith Urban and Vince Gill can easily be diminished as they mature into their new life. Even though it may be inevitable, I just don't think it brings out the best in them.
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