On August 13, 2010, Vince performed with his wife, Amy Grant, and former employer Emmylou Harris during a celebration of his 20 years as a member
of the Grand Ole Opry. Photos by Chris Hollo
quite right. All the stuff I have picked up is
pretty great. I am not interested in collecting
a mass of stuff that doesn’t speak to me.
It sounds like you are really focused on
the connection between a specific guitar
and amp to get your tone. Do you use
Occasionally. In the studio I want to get
the amp to do the right thing just plugged
straight in. After the fact, you can add delay
or whatever you want on it. I use some pedals, not a lot. It’s usually something to give
it a little more gas. I really like this pedal
made by Hermida Audio called a Zendrive,
which I think is really great. I have another
pedal that is really just a boost [Creation
Audio Labs MK. 4. 23]. It kicks it just a hair
and doesn’t alter the tone drastically and
adds just a little sparkle. In the studio, it’s
really all about getting the amp and the guitar to do just the right thing.
Where did you record this album?
At my house. I put a studio in my house and it
has been the most life-changing thing I think I
have ever done. The atmosphere here is relaxed
and it’s a peaceful feeling here in this house.
There are windows all around the studio and
you look out and see blue skies and trees. It’s
gorgeous here. The guys really enjoy the vibe
here and it really made for a creative stretch.
How do you balance being a songwriter,
a singer, a guitarist, and in some cases,
I think you have to be wise enough to edit
yourself and play what fits.
Do you find that difficult?
No, I think it’s a fun challenge. If you work
on something and say to yourself, “I just
played 11 notes in this four-bar phrase.
Would eight be better?” You just massage
it and milk it and find a way to make it
speak the most. That’s the thing that happens to you later in your musical life. You
learn more what not to play and that the
real greatness is in the nuances of subtleties. I think in the writing process I know
certain songs are written to be a vehicle
to play the guitar. Others will have a great
groove that will lend to some playing. Some
songs won’t. A lot of songs don’t need a big
ripping solo, or really much of anything.
It’s all about serving the song and deciding
what is the right thing to do.
You really show off your blues side on
“When the Lady Sings the Blues.” How
did that song come together?
When I was young, Diana Ross made that
movie, When the Lady Sings the Blues, about
Billie Holiday. I gotta tell ya, I probably
saw that movie 100 times. We had a little
theater about a block from my house and
I would go over there and pay and see the
movie and then hide behind the curtain or
run to the restroom and hang out to see it
again. I was just completely overwhelmed
by that music and had never heard of Billie
Holiday until that movie. I didn’t know
who this woman was, but the music was
unbelievable, so I just had to find out what
it was all about. It sent me on a pretty
neat path towards that slant of music.
As we were writing that song I thought,
“Wait a minute, we could massage this a
little bit and it could be a really neat hard
times song.” When you are struggling with
hard times, nothing is better than listen-
ing to Billie Holiday. A singer like that is
the epitome of that style. She had some
kind of thing in her voice that was melan-
choly, blue, and just completely mesmer-
izing. I thought it was a neat idea to do a
more modern blues, Steely Dan-ish song.
Lyrically, it makes you think of the depres-
sion, with the soup lines and people strug-
gling. That is one tune that warranted a lot