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For Down to My Last Bad Habit, his 18th studio album, it would have been easy for Vince Gill to kick back a bit. After all, when you’ve sold more than 26 million albums, won 20 Grammys, and earned 18 CMA Awards (including two Entertainer of the Year trophies), you’ve done it all, right?

Not a chance, says this musician extraordinaire, who produced his new album with engineer Justin Niebank. Down to My Last Bad Habit, available February 12, is his first solo album as part of a new deal with MCA, the label he joined in 1989.

“Forty years into this, it’s still as much fun as it’s ever been to play music,” says Gill, sitting in his home studio in Nashville. “At the end of the day, what I get excited about is doing something I haven’t done before. When I record a song, I feel successful if I’ve accomplished something new.”

That’s no small feat, considering that on his first solo album since 2011’s Guitar Slinger, Gill returns to his favorite theme, love in all its incarnations: Love sweet and celebrated (“Me and My Girl,” “My Favorite Movie”), love on fire (“Take Me Down,” “Make You Feel Real Good”), love denied (“I’ll Be Waiting for You,” “Down to My Last Bad Habit”), and love lost and mourned (“I Can’t Do This,” “Reasons for the Tears I Cry”).

The Oklahoma native wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album. “I love the diversity of the songs. Some of them are brand new, and some of them have a lot of years on them,” he
notes. Gill took two years to make the record, during which he co-produced the second of two albums (Like a Rose, The Blade) with the old-soul vocalist Ashley Monroe. And with steel guitar wizard Paul Franklin, he recorded Bakersfield, an album composed of the hard-country songs of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

The new album likewise acknowledges country’s deep roots with the steel-guitar laced “Sad One Coming On (A Song for George Jones).” Gill, who approximates Jones’ clench-jawed vocal, sang at Jones’ funeral in 2013, but he was so broken up that he could hardly get through it. He wrote the new song as a way to assuage his own pain, and to give the King of Broken Hearts his due as perhaps the greatest country singer ever.

“If something’s country, I want it to sound about 1958,” says Gill, with a laugh. “I want it deep, as honest and authentic as it should be.”

The songs on Down to My Last Bad Habit run the gamut of styles, including the jazzy “One More Mistake I Made,” the down-and-dirty Chicago blues of “Make You Feel Real Good,” and the blistering “I Can’t Do This,” which hearkens to the pop power ballads of the ‘70s. One of the album’s highlights, “I Can’t Do This” captures the excruciating pain of a man who runs into his old flame with her new beau, and remembers the nights “I’ve seen that red dress hanging on our bedroom door.”

“Boy, you talk about torment!” Gill says. “But I like melancholy. It’s light years more fun to sing. There’s so much more emotion in it.”

As a producer, Gill wants every note to matter, and to feel equal to the others. He picks his musicians and guest vocalists much the way a film director makes a movie. “I’m always casting,” he explains. “I ask myself, ‘Who’s right for this part? Who will play it the best?’ That to me is the most fun part of making a record.”

While he chose such luminaries as Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Bekka Bramlett, jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, Little Big Town and guitarist Sonny Landreth for this record, he also found new friends in Ellie Holcomb, Charlie Worsham and Cam, in addition to his favorite vocalists close by: daughters Jenny and Corrina. “I feel like the Partridge Family is rearing its ugly head in my life,” he says, laughing. “But in a great way.”

Fresh off a run of Christmas shows at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium with his wife, Christian contemporary and pop legend Amy Grant, Gill reunites with Americana star Lyle Lovett for a 14-city tour in February and March, reprising their witty, wry, and musically superb concerts of 2015. In addition to his own solo concerts, he also does about 30 gigs a year with the Grammy-nominated The Time Jumpers, the sophisticated Nashville-based ensemble dedicated to revitalizing western-swing and classic honky tonk.

“Since I put this studio in the house, I think I’m playing, singing, and writing better than I ever have,” he offers. “And that inspires me.”

Though Down to My Last Bad Habit is sure to appeal to fans old and new. “I was meant to play music,” he says, summing it all up. “And I don’t want to leave anything in the bag.”

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VINCE GILL AND THE TIME JUMPERS PICK UP A GRAMMY!

Vince Gill picked up his 21st Grammy Award on Sunday night. He won Best American Roots Song for “Kid Sister” with The Time Jumpers.

GRAMMY AWARDS 2017: Keith, Dierks, Hillary

The GRAMMY Awards will be handed out on Sunday (February 12th), and several of your favorite country artists may be walking away with a trophy.

Keith Urban has nominations in three categories, including Best Country Solo Performance for his recent multi-week No. 1 song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” which is also up for Best Country Song. His record, Ripcord, competes for Best Country Album.

Dierks Bentley with Elle King are nnominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Different for Girls,” while Brothers Osborne are also up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “21 Summer.”

Vince Gill scored a couple of nominations, including Best Americana Roots Song for penning “Kid Sister,” which is also the title of his Best Americana Album with his band The Time Jumpers.

Hillary Scott & the Scott Family are nominated for Contemporary Christian Song for “Thy Will” and Best Contemporary Christian Album for Love Remains.

Keith Urban will perform his latest single, “The Fighter,” with Carrie Underwood. Little Big Town will also perform on the show, in addition to previously announced performers Maren Morris, Adele, The Weeknd, Alicia Keys, as well as Sturgill Simpson, Gary Clark, Jr. and Chance The Rapper.

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air live from the Staples Center in L.A., February 12th at 8pm ET on CBS.

Best Country Solo Performance:
“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:
“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” —  Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble And Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:
Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban

Audio / Keith Urban talks about recording the song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” from his album Ripcord.

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Keith Urban (Blue Ain’t Your Color) OC: …of space. :50
“With this record, I think I was also trying to find songs and write songs to what I had done in the past, just that felt different for me. This song called ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’ came along, and again, it was just one of those that I loved immediately. I loved the lyric. I loved the melody, the feel, and it’s basically a waltz, you know, like a one, two, three, two, two, three, a one, two, three, two, two, three. But I didn’t want it to feel like a waltz, you know? So, when we recorded the song at Starstruck Studios here in Nashville, we kept it a little more robotic sounding, so it wasn’t a straight band. It was a little more machinery, rhythmically, and I think it kept, hopefully for me at least, it kept it in a unique place to allow the story to have a lot of space.”

Audio / Keith Urban talks about the correlation between the adrenaline rush of pulling a ripcord from a parachute and the hope that those feelings are captured in the diversity of the songs on his new album, Ripcord.

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Keith Urban (Ripcord album) OC: …this record. :37
“There’s songs on the record that probably feel, having not skydived myself, but my wife has done it many, many, many times. There’s definitely songs that sound like that free falling at an incredibly rapid speed. The adrenaline rush of that. The pulling of the cord and suddenly just sort of cruising and coasting and floating and the combination of all those speeds, energies, exhilarations, euphoria, the view, how that changes, all of it, I think, hopefully will be captured in the diversity of songs on this record.”

Audio / Dierks Bentley talks about having Elle King sing on the song, “Different For Girls” on his new album, Black.

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Dierks Bentley (Elle King) OC: …new place. :36
“Well, I love Elle King’s voice. I mean she has such a unique voice, and you never know if her voice is going to blend with your voice. I didn’t found out until I went down to the studio in Austin, and right away it was just a really natural sounding blend. Her voice just lifted up this song. The lyrics of this song are pretty strong and her voice on this particular song really takes the song to a whole other level. I really wanted to find a way for her not to just be background vocals. I wanted to find a way to really get her included in the song, so I gave her the second verse and made the song more of a conversation as opposed to just background vocals. And it really, it just took the song to a whole new place.”

Audio / Hillary Scott is so excited to be nominated for two Grammys for her faith-based song "Thy Will" and the album she made with her family, Love Remains.

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Hillary Scott (Grammys 2017) OC: …incredible year. 52
HILLARY: “Over the moon excited, and never expected it, because honestly when we set out to make the record we weren’t sure how many people would get to hear it. To be able to share this with my family is, it makes me cry. So, it’s gonna be a really special day. The whole experience has been amazing.” CHARLES: “I expected it. The first time I heard ‘Thy Will,’ it blew my mind. I asked her if she could hold it for Lady Antebellum’s record. I knew it was special. I told her after I heard it, ‘This is gonna to blow up. It’s gonna be huge.’” HILLARY: “And just to see, that song in particular coming from such a difficult thing, I think we all hope that the things that we go through in our life, at some point being able to look back and say, ‘Okay. Alright. I still would never want to go through it again, but I see why, a piece of why even.’ So, this is just, it’s just been an incredible year.”

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS 2016: Keith, Dierks, Brothers O, Hillary

The nominations for the 50th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, and Keith Urban picked up three nods, including Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for his current smash, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” while his album, RipCord competes for Best Country Album.

Keith received the news while he’s been overseas touring in Australia. “It’s 2am, and I’m just coming down from a crazy great show overseas,” he said in a statement. “I’m totally blown away with these nominations. Making RipCord was really a collaborative labor of love both for the music and all the people that helped me bring my vision to life. I’ll stay up anytime to hear news like this…just not sure of how to get to sleep now!!”

 

Brothers Osborne earned a Grammy nom for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their recent single, “21 Summer,” competing with Dierks Bentley and Elle King for “Different for Girls.”

The Brothers, who just won their first CMA Award for Duo of the Year, tweeted out their reaction, saying “We’ll never take these moments for granted. Ever. Thank you @RecordingAcad.”

 

Vince Gill scored a couple of nominations, including Best Americana Roots Song for penning “Kid Sister,” which is also the title of his Best Americana Album with his band The Time Jumpers.

Hillary Scott & the Scott Family are nominated for Contemporary Christian Song for “Thy Will” and their album, Love Remains.

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, will air live from the Staples Center in L.A. February 12th at 8pm ET on CBS.

Best Country Solo Performance:
“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:
“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” —  Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble And Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:
Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban

Audio / Keith Urban talks about recording the song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” from his new album Ripcord.

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Keith Urban (Blue Ain’t Your Color) OC: …of space. :50
“With this record, I think I was also trying to find songs and write songs to what I had done in the past, just that felt different for me. This song called ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color’ came along, and again, it was just one of those that I loved immediately. I loved the lyric. I loved the melody, the feel, and it’s basically a waltz, you know, like a one, two, three, two, two, three, a one, two, three, two, two, three. But I didn’t want it to feel like a waltz, you know? So, when we recorded the song at Starstruck Studios here in Nashville, we kept it a little more robotic sounding, so it wasn’t a straight band. It was a little more machinery, rhythmically, and I think it kept, hopefully for me at least, it kept it in a unique place to allow the story to have a lot of space.”

Audio / John and TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne explain how they work together as a duo.

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Brothers Osborne (duo) OC: …in country music. :56
TJ: “[For] most duos it’s built on singing. I mean, John’s an incredible guitar player and to not try to follow in anyone’s footsteps and just kind of do it our own way, it’s really built off of me singing and John playing the guitar. So, I think it is unique and fun and cool, and it kind of gives two kind of parallels that I think work really nicely together. It’s really fun in a live setting too.” JOHN: “It’s kind of an old-school rock approach, you know. In country music, you have two singers that sing a lot of harmonies and stuff together, and we do that as brothers – sing a lot together – but his voice in the band is his voice and my voice is guitar. We look back at a lot of old rock bands like Aerosmith to The Allman Brothers and guys like that, where it’s like a lead singer and the sideman guitar player. That’s the approach that we’re going for, and it seems to be really working for us. It’s kind of carving our path in country music.”

Audio / Dierks Bentley talks about having Elle King sing on the song, “Different For Girls” on his new album, Black.

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Dierks Bentley (Elle King) OC: …new place. :36
“Well, I love Elle King’s voice. I mean she has such a unique voice, and you never know if her voice is going to blend with your voice. I didn’t found out until I went down to the studio in Austin, and right away it was just a really natural sounding blend. Her voice just lifted up this song. The lyrics of this song are pretty strong and her voice on this particular song really takes the song to a whole other level. I really wanted to find a way for her not to just be background vocals. I wanted to find a way to really get her included in the song, so I gave her the second verse and made the song more of a conversation as opposed to just background vocals. And it really, it just took the song to a whole new place.”

Audio / Hillary Scott says the new album, Love Remains, is about leaving a mark and the person she wants to be.

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Hillary Scott (leaving a mark) OC: …leaving a mark. 1:20
“I have always really tried to be an open book, you know? And I think everybody can see that. Over the years of being in the public eye, and if you’re a friend in my personal life, ya know outside of work. I think for me, a lot of this record is just about wanting to say something that is real, and authentic and wanting, I feel like I’ve always tried to be truly who I am to people. It doesn’t get more ‘me’ than these songs…and a lot of it is the me I’m trying to be. It’s not the me that I necessarily am right now. It’s the me that I hope to continue to grow into and, I think now as a mother to a beautiful little girl, you think a lot about what you’re gonna leave behind. Even though, I just had a birthday, and I’m not that old [LAUGHS]…but it’s just, like what you want to teach your children, what you want them to teach their friends, and their children, and with my family on it, I think that is an even more a part of the heart of this project. I mean, this isn’t just me leaving a legacy, this is my parents leaving a legacy. And in honor of the life that they’ve lived, and the loss that they’ve had, and the dreams that they’ve had come true, all of it. It’s about leaving a mark.”

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