Vince Gill’s got a lot of music in him, and he wants to get it out.
It’s not like he hasn’t already given the world a ton of music. He’s got 20 Grammy Awards to his credit, he’s in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and his guitar playing has earned him accolades from fans and critics of rock and blues as well.
Still, Gill is currently recording and playing with a Western swing band called The Time Jumpers partly because original music in an old-timey form is something he knew he wanted to do.
And when he’s asked what his career goals are — if a man can still have career goals after 20 Grammys and a hall of fame induction — Gill responds quickly and plainly that he wants to record music as fast as possible.
“More than anything, I just want to record as much as I can. I feel like I have so much music in me that I want to get out of me,” said Gill, 55. “So before I can’t breathe like I can breathe, before I can’t sing like I sing, I want to do as much as possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see two or three records a year from me.”
And what will those records be? All country? Some rock and blues, maybe?
“Yeah, I think it would be fair of me to do rock, blues — that’s all honest, it’s all part of my past,” said Gill. “I might do anything, except maybe spoken word or hip-hop.”
For now, Gill is focusing on Western swing. He will be playing with The Time Jumpers, a group made up of mostly Nashville session players, in a sold-out show Thursday at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield.
Gill says he’s happy to be playing Stone Mountain, a fairly intimate space, on Valentine’s Day. Although the music is original, the songs often sound like they could have been recorded by Webb Pierce or Ernest Tubb circa 1952. Most feature fiddles and steel guitars, and some have old-time tempos perfect for waltzing.
The Time Jumpers’ music sounds fresh and old at the same time. That might seem like a nifty trick to most of us, but to someone as naturally gifted at Gill, it makes perfect sense.
“There’s a melodic way those old songs work. You borrow a handful of things from songs of that era, and then you just weave in a new story,” said Gill. “That’s the beauty of this record (‘The Time Jumpers’), because it’s not covers, it’s all new.”
The Time Jumpers’ self-titled album was nominated for a Grammy this year in the category of Best Country Album, and the song “On the Outskirts of Town” was nominated in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
They lost to The Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town, respectively, on Sunday, but that’s still some impressive critical recognition for a group that was formed basically so session musicians in Nashville could get together in a club, have a few beers and have fun.
The group began in 1998 doing a weekly gig at a Nashville bluegrass club, the Station Inn. Gill, who by far is the best-known member, began subbing in with the group about three or four years ago and eventually became a full-time member.
“Everybody is in this for the right reasons: To have fun and because they love the music,” said Gill. “It’s people getting together to play music they want to play, instead of music they have to play.”
The membership has changed over the years, but some of the regular members besides Gill include Ranger Doug Green, Dawn and Kenny Sears, Paul Franklin, Andy Reiss, Joe Spivey, Bill Thomas, Dennis Crouch, Jeff Taylor and Larry Franklin.
Gill said playing in a band of great session players has made him a better musician. And because they take turns singing and he’s not always the frontman, it gives him the opportunity to focus on guitar playing.
“I like the chance to focus on guitar playing, any style,” he said. “I like turning up the amp to 13 and playing Clapton licks, and I like flat-picking for bluegrass. I like all of it.”
Gill said seeing a Western swing band — specifically The Time Jumpers — is sort of like seeing a jam band. There’s a lot of improvising, people trading licks and trading turns at the microphone.
Plus, you never know what might happen.
When asked if he remembered a time in Sioux Falls, S.D., more than 15 years ago when he sang along to his own hits in a karaoke bar, Gill laughed and said he did indeed remember.
“I never take myself too seriously, though when it comes to making music, I’m as serious as anyone,” said Gill. “But I like to have fun, and I’ve been known to make a fool of myself once in a while.”
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: