on February 17, 2002
Souvenirs is incomplete on the surface. Vince Gill did not put any of his post-'93 hits in this collection--the six hits from Vince's '94 album When Love Finds You aren't on here. However, I think a greatest-hits album should include the artist's best songs, and Vince definitely included his best ones on Souvenirs. "When I Call Your Name", "Pocket Full Of Gold", "I Still Believe In You", "Liza Jane", "Never Knew Lonely", "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away", and "Tryin' To Get Over You" are the highlights, and these songs are among my favorite Vince songs. Vince also included "The Heart Won't Lie", his duet with Reba McEntire; "I Can't Tell You Why", the classic Eagles song which he did for the "Common Thread" Eagles tribute album; and "I Will Always Love You", his duet with Dolly Parton. Although the latter three songs weren't originally on one of Vince's own records, Vince at least included all previously released material here and did not(as Clint Black did) put newer songs on his greatest-hits collection while overlooking some great songs from the past. Also, I think Vince's first four years with MCA, 1989-93, when most of these songs were recorded, were his best years musically(at least until The Key came out in '98). Vince may not have gone the full length of his career when he put together Souvenirs, but he did pick his greatest songs. That's why I give this record five stars.
With so many singers around these days, it is rare to find one that is truly distinctive, but Vince's superb tenor voice is unlike any other in country music. This collection covers the period from 1990 to 1993, when he was at the peak of his career. Actually, his peak lasted a little longer - one more album (When love finds you), after which Vince continued to make great albums without ever achieving the same level of success.
The first three tracks, Never alone, Never knew lonely and When I call your name are taken from his first MCA album, When I call your name. It is still my favorite original album of Vince's music. A big disappointment for me is the omission of Oklahoma swing, a duet with Reba McEntire that was a top five country hit - big enough to qualify for this collection.
Those three tracks are followed by four tracks from Vince's second MCA album, Pocket full of gold, another brilliant album. Then comes a duet with Reba, The heart won't lie. It was originally released on Reba's album, It's your call, but not on any of Vince's original albums. It is a wonderful song, even if I still prefer their earlier duet.
Next come five tracks from Vince's third MCA album, I still believe in you. Some say that was his best original album and it's not difficult to see why. Actually, there's not much to choose between all Vince's albums - they were all of a consistently high quality.
Completing this outstanding collection are I can't tell you why, a song that Vince recorded for the Eagles tribute album Common thread, and I will always love you, a duet with Dolly that first appeared on her Something special album.
on June 23, 2006
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since this fine anthology of Vince Gill's earliest songs was first released, but it's a classic and sounds as good - even better - today as it did in 1995. Many excellent comments about this album have been made here already, and I'm seconding them with a nod to my favorites on the album:
Vince had a hand in writing most of the songs here, but the one that's the best recording for my money is the smooth-jazz crossover sound of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why." Next is the wonderful rendering (and redemption after Whitney Houston murdered it) of Dolly Parton's heart-rending "I Will Always Love You." Her voice in a duet with Vince on this song is a perfect match of pure vocalizing.
Vince's high, clear voice seems best suited to songs of loss and yearning, and they comprise the majority of these songs, ranging from the starkly sad "When I Call Your Name" and the aching-sweet "I Still Believe in You." The up-tempo, rollicking "One More Last Chance" seems almost out of place in the company of such heart-felt musical ruminations.
The emotional quality of these songs is reflected in the awesome range of instrumentation, arrangements, and musicianship. There is a bit of honky-tonk, some country rock, and lots of pure country with soul-piercing roots touches. This is just a fine, essential album by a country great.
on December 15, 2005
Vince Gill could be described in many ways....good sport; gentleman; funny; full of heart; and a maverick at songwriting and music. He can play the tails off of almost any guitarist out there (he 'plays' his guitar, and doesn't sound like he's killing it-come on guys, listen to a truly amazing guitarist here).
With the MCA label since the 90's, he has released great albums throughout. This is his solid and official MCA collection of hits from 1990 to 1995, and it's a beauty.
'Never Alone' growls with a wrangler electric guitar that opens the disc like a surefire eye opener. This mid-tempo track doesn't run too fast or slow, and is really solid. Gill is somewhat more known for his ballads than rockers or quick shuffles, and 'Never Knew Lonely' validates those choked up feelings of missing someone. The piano is sweet yet grand, while the steel guitar weeps slowly in the right places. Vince really grabs those fragile feelings like nobody else, and 'love song' is written all over it, but for the best intentions.
I love slow ballads, the ones that just sway back and forth. Sadness is so infused on 'When I Call Your Name', and Patty Loveless' yearning background vocals nearly breaks through my ribcage to my heart everytime. Oh, shucks, the tears just rain down. Vince is also one of the few country-roots artists out there that can fuse modern and traditional country together so well, or make either a full fledged rock 'or' traditional song just as well as classic artists who concentrate on either genre solely. People like Mark Knoppler and Roy Clark I'm sure are mighty proud of this guy.
There are plenty of smiling tunes, like the snappy 'One More Last Chance', with a chatty snare drum and harmonica running neck and neck with that clean yet dynamic guitar Gill is so well known for. 'Liza Jane' also slips on dancing shoes and grabs onto an infectious boogie beat with some piano. Don't blame me if someone starts bouncin' around your place after putting these two tracks on!
Reba Mcentire and Vince took a song and turned it into a pleasent contemporary duet, 'The Heart Won't Lie', while 'I Can't Tell You Why' shows that Vince is one of the best people to cover a cool Eagles tune.
It's really neat how Gill's vocals nearly start the cowboy bar ballad, 'Pocket Full Of Gold'. Without judgement in tone or lyrics, he unfolds a story of how a married man slips his ring into his pocket and makes his moves on another woman. 'No Future In The Past' may feel somewhat similar to 'When I Call Your Name' musically and lyrically, yet is full of classic country sounds that will reduce any concern. Just listen to how Alison Krauss' voice soars up there in the high parts with Vince-boy can their voices reach! The title track and 'Trying To Get Over You' keep at those heartsrings, and are arranged better than most modern country tunes on the radio. Both songs keep it quite country, yet add a neat fresh spin.
Perhaps the most well executed rock and country song ever is on here, thank God. 'Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away' fuses a hip sharp beat, organ, and electric guitar that has guts, but keeps it clean. This song is on the highest plateau for the best rock/country songs out there along with VERY few others.
Vince has always been a sincere fan and friend of Dolly Parton, and they beautifully deliver a new version of 'I Will Always Love You'. 'Look At Us' is full of classic steel and tender rythym guitar, while an often overlooked tune, 'Take Your Memory When You Go' keeps fans of skippy shuffles very happy.
These songs have amazing dynamics and character. Should a rythym acoustic guitar keep the song going, or sound more upfront and present, you don't need to tell yourself a reason why....you just feel in every song, that the instruments and tempos fit the song perfectly, like in "Pocket Full Of Gold', where the piano gives you a sad saloon feel, and the acoustic guitar's rythym shows a 'hang your head here at the bar' sign. When you listen to what the song has to say, the music also speaks the feelings and provokes those tears. It's just so automatic...maybe my thinking, but I'm sure you'll agree.
This disc is mostly filled with songs that make you sigh with love and loss, but regardless, whether Vince Gill is kicking the floor out from underneath you with his hot rod fueled fun, or wrapping a blanket around your hearts, he is without a doubt, an outstanding artist. This is one of my favourite collections by any artist, and I wholeheartedly call this a classic disc.
on September 30, 2001
Vince Gill is the perfect musical artist. He has a voice from heaven and songs to go with it. He is a brilliant guitarist of the highest order as well. This greatest hits collection is as perfect as it gets. His rendition of The Eagles classic "I Can't Tell You Why" is downright perfect. It seems as if the song was made especially for him. His version is the best. He also teams up with Dolly Parton on her old hit "I Will Always Love You". I'll take this version over Whitney's any day!!. The rest is pure musical gold. "I Still Believe In You" remains to be one of the prettiest ballads in country music, or, well, in any musical genre for that matter. His up-tempo songs are just as memorable. "Liza Jane" is the best of that set. One of the things that has always helped Gill be a star is his incredible graciousness. He comes and helps or appears on anyone's record who asks him. He's incredibly kind. A real gentleman. That'll get you anything. Do yourself a favor and get this greatest hits CD of one of the best voices around. He definitley needs a second volume since he's had a number of hits since this. This is essential!.
on April 22, 2016
Only recently discovered Vince Gill. This guy is easy listening/country/rock and roll all rolled into one album. Looking for more Vince Gill purchases based on this album. It has not left the CD player in the car since I bought it. Fantastic guitar player/voice with perfect lyrics. A true, honest to goodness, old fashioned singer/song writer. Real talent.
Vince Gill managed to carve out a long-lasting career in country by bucking the system that established so many country stars in the 90's. He never wore a hat. He rarely jumped to cliches when songwriting, and he always allowed his voice to convey the message of the song. Nowhere is that more emphasized than on "When I Call Your Name." It invokes the sound of timeless country, yet at the same time it utilized the slick production values that was turning Country Music into the dominant force of that decade (think George Strait and Garth Brooks).
The same goes for "I Still Believe in You" and "Look At Us," two of so many heartbreak ballad classics that Gill released on his first three MCA Nashville albums. Like "When I Call Your Name," they were CMA Song of The Year winners, and epitomize the silky smooth delivery that Gill has perfected. It's also why his duets here, with Dolly Parton on "I Will Always Love You" and Reba McEntire on "The Heart Won't Lie" (originally on a McEntire album), find his voice nestling perfectly with his singing partners. He makes feeling sad feel so good.
Gill is also adept at the country shuffle, like on "Liza Jane." Gill himself called this song his attempt at writing an Eric Clapton song ala "Lay Down Sally," and it showcases Gill's superb guitar chops. (Often overlooked next to his singing and songwriting.) Same goes for "Take Your Memory With You."
But the Oklahoma born Gill is still a California Country boy at heart (after all, he started his career with Pure Prairie League), and the moment that highlights that is his cover of "I Can't Tell You Why." His contribution to the tribute album "Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles" brings the Eagles' country sensibilities to the center and surrounds it with Gill's ever-so-sensitive singing, connecting the 90's country boom to its core audience of yuppies for whom the urbanized country called to them like "Hotel California."
Vince Gill's "Souvenirs" remains his best anthology, covering his most fertile period up to 1995. While there are a few more since then, this remains my favorite.
on February 27, 2015
What's not to love about this album of Gill classics. Great music. It happens I got this album for my in-laws. My FIL loves the song "Look At Us" and counts it as "their song". So, the music was for them. Thanks, Vince, for many years of wonderful tunes.
on November 6, 2005
An outstanding album. This has to be one of the finer collection of any artist, and the quality of sound is incredible and crystal clear. If I have one criticism of Vince Gill, it is the fact that he has never abandoned his pop oriented roots (Pure Prarie League); but, all it takes is one listen of his guitar picking, and all is forgiven. Vince is at his best when he adopts the lonesome sound of Bluegrass to his voice; he is very good at it and although he has numerous mainstream Country hits, he will be best remembered for his bluegrass influenced vocals. The best offerings here are "Take Your Memory With You", "Pocket Full of Gold", and "When I Call Your Name (with Patty Loveless)". Also included are the more rowdy songs "Liza Jane" and the nearly identical "Dont Let Our Love Stop Slippin'". I'm not sure if I agree with the inclusion of Vince's cover of the Eagles' "I Cant Tell You Why", or the two duets with Dolly Parton and Reba. But, they are part of Vince's library of songs and if you enjoy the "pop" sound, you'll appreciate their inclusion here. All in all, a very good album that showcases a fine voice and musical talents of Country Music's "Nice Guy".
on June 14, 2001
This album contains some of Vince's best songs up to 1995. Vince's wonderful tenor voice has the amazing ability to wrench the heart strings, especially with his sad romantic ballads, of which "Never knew lonely" and "When I call your name" are two of the best. This is one of my favourite country albums of all time, and I can never hear it enough. If you only get one of his cd's then make this the one, but I guarantee that if you do, you will want to buy others. Vince Gill is addictive!