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King o' Country

King o' Country

A bona fide icon is bound for Jackson next week. Vince Gill, dubbed such by the BMI Country Awards last November, claims 20 Grammies (the most of any male Country artist) and 26 million albums sold. Despite fame and fortune, Gill remains a good guy, as described by Kyle Young of the Country Music Foundation at Gill’s 2007 induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“Vince Gill is quite simply a living prism refracting all that is good in country music,” Young said. “He uses the crystal planes of his songwriting, his playing, and his singing to give us a musical rainbow that embraces all men and spans all seasons.”

With the wet summer we’ve been having, a rainbow will likely welcome Gill to the Tetons on August 7 for his performance at the Center for the Arts’ Annual Benefit Concert. With all proceeds benefiting the Center and its high-caliber programming, Persephone is proud to contribute desserts to the evening affair. The concert is sure to sell out; see if any seats remain on the brand new Center website.

Born in Norman, Oklahoma to a judge father who played part-time in a country band, Gill got his big break in a way befitting Wyoming. When Eddie Rabbitt abruptly canceled his appearance at the 1983 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, a no-name cowboy singer named George Strait filled in – white knight-style on horseback – alongside Rosanne Cash, whose band included bright-eyed guitarist Vince Gill. Fame ensued for all of the pinch hitters, including Gill, who nabbed a RCA record deal that night. He promptly moved to Nashville to pursue his country dreams.

Over the course of his four-decade career, Gill has appeared on nearly 1,000 albums: as frontman for country rock outfit the Pure Prairie League; as collaborator with fellow greats like Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless and Barbara Streisand; and as husband to Christian rock crooner Amy Grant. In 2014, the Country Music Association honored Gill with the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence, an award given only once before to Johnny Cash. According to the BMI Icon Award description, Gill stands among a cadre of “songwriters who have had a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” May his greatness wear off on the Center crowd.