High Lonesome Sound (MCA, 1996)
Reviewed by Brian Wahlert
Vince Gill used to be one of Nashville's rare triple threats: an outstanding singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. On this album, though, while the guitar-playing is sometimes hot, and Gill's voice can still send shivers down the listener's spine, the songwriting is sorely lacking. The first single, "High Lonesome Sound," is just one big bluegrass cliche, and even a beautiful melody and Gill's higher-than-the-heavens vocals can't save "Pretty Little Adriana" from its trite lyrics. ("You've got the sweetest way / I think about you every day/ I miss you so much"). Gill should earn some credit with this album for his willingness to try different musical styles, however. The bluegrass of "High Lonesome Sound" is perfectly comfortable, and the swampy funk of "Down to New Orleans" is also interesting. However, it seems that anything Gill does is naturally pulled toward the country-pop middle of the road. This is made especially evident by comparing the radio version of "Lonesome" with another recording of the same song included on this album, performed by Alison Krauss & Union Station. Gill needs to expend a lot more creativity on the songs for his next album and take some bigger musical risks.
CDs by Vince Gill