Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, the Nashville Predators, the Nashville hospitality industry and MCA Nashville were among those honoring Vince Gill today during the kick-off celebration of Vince Gill Week at the Visitor Center in Bridgestone Arena.
Before Gill releases his new album, Guitar Slinger, on Oct. 24, MCA Nashville and city leaders wanted to take a moment to celebrate his achievements and thank him for his dedication and generosity to Music City.
“I’m grateful that people are saying, ‘Well done,’” Gill says.
Mayor Dean presented a proclamation honoring Gill ‘s “extraordinary talent and contributions” and recognizing Vince Gill Week. He also announced that Gill will serve as grand marshal of the 59th annual Nashville Christmas Parade, which will be held Dec. 2 and starts at Public Square Plaza.
“Vince Gill is a great musician, a great humanitarian and a great Nashvillian,” Mayor Dean says. “If there is a need in our community, Vince is always eager to step up and help. He truly embodies the spirit of generosity and charity that Nashville is known for. I am grateful for his many contributions and am pleased to recognize Vince Gill Week.”
Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented Gill with a pair of turntable-shaped cuff links on behalf of the hospitality industry. He says that Gill’s music is now being played in the traffic signal boxes at the Music Row Roundabout, which are wrapped with Gill’s image. The NCVB will also purchase copies of Guitar Slinger to use as part of gifts for clients.
“We wanted to celebrate Vince Gill Week because one day isn’t enough to honor a man who has done so much for Nashville. He represents all that is good about this city,” Spyridon says.
Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena CEO Jeff Cogen unveiled a special hockey-themed Vince Gill bobblehead that will be given away at a future Predators home game. The Predators will honor Gill during their home game tonight, where he will be presented with a Predators jersey.
“Since the Predators’ arrival, Vince Gill has been one of the team’s most recognizable and passionate fans,” Cogen says. “His support has benefitted the Predators and Nashville in so many ways, both locally and nationally, as he has converted many of his music and entertainment friends into Predators’ fans along with inviting some to perform with him on our bandstage, making great music and enhancing the game experience for our fans. We are proud to call him a friend and he is one of Nashville’s true treasures.”
Fender’s James Pennebaker presented Gill with one of the new Eric Clapton-series Tweed Tremolux amplifiers, a point-to-point hand-wired amplifier made at Fender’s custom amp shop in Corona, Calif. Gill is only the second person to possess this amplifier, behind Clapton himself.
“Vince is the real deal; he’s the whole package: a world-class songwriter and singer with that incredible tenor voice and above all, truly a ‘Guitar Slinger,’” Pennebaker says.
“Vince has always played a particular 1953 Fender Telecaster,” Pennebaker says. “I assume Vince sought out the Telecaster because it’s the guitar so many of his heroes played, like James Burton, Clarence White, Jimmy Bryant and on and on. Most of those heroes are now good friends of his, and believe me, Vince can hang with any and all of them. So now for many guitarists all over the world, Vince has become the hero.”
The Loveless Café’s Jesse Goldstein told the crowd that Loveless will feature Gill as its Artist of the Month for November, when it kicks off the Loveless Café’s Year of Music. The restaurant will play a custom playlist of Gill’s songs with personal introductions in the Cafe and Hams & Jams store, carry his music in Hams & Jams and its online store and create contests and other activities surrounding his music.
MCA Nashville’s Beverly Keel and Tom Lord presented Gill with a plaque commemorating 26 million albums sold, 24 No. 1 singles, 20 Grammy Awards and 18 Country Music Association Awards, as well his 20th anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry and inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.