Earlier this week Vince Gill and a host of his friends, family and admirers came out to Nashville’s Fischer Center for the taping of the latest installment of CMT’s Giants series. Gill’s sprawling legacy was put into perspective with career-spanning tributes from the likes of Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Chris Stapleton, and Maren Morris, among others.
The two-hour special premieres Friday night (September 16) with 10 star-studded performances, rare clips, and interviews with Gill himself. Ahead of what would be a heartwarming night, Gill and his special guests walked the red carpet and spoke to American Songwriter about the celebration of Gill’s unparalleled impact on country music.
Ricky Skaggs, who was also among the featured performers, spoke about being able to celebrate his long-time friend and collaborator who “often celebrates other people.”
“Vince has been one that’s been on the stage celebrating other people’s lives,” Skaggs tells American Songwriter. “I’m happy he has to sit in the hot seat and let us love on him tonight. He’s amazing and he just gives all of his heart all the time. He is someone that is a giver and has made a huge impact on our business and our city.”
“They don’t call it Giants for nothing,” Underwood adds. “It’s an honor to be here to celebrate such a great guy and an incredible artist. I just hope I don’t mess up.”
She continues, “Gill has never been one to be shy about inserting his faith into songs in a really beautiful way and I feel like that is a massive inspiration for me. For someone to be so strong in their feelings, that definitely resonates with me.”
Along with his fellow country icons, Gill also brought along his two daughters, Corrina and Jenny, in the absence of his wife, Amy Grant, who is currently still recovering from a bike accident that occurred in July.
Corinna and Jenny gushed about their father’s big day.
“Proud doesn’t even encapsulate all of it,” Corinna, who sang backing vocals in the house band for the night, said. “We’ve watched him do this thing for as long as we’ve been alive so for everybody to gather and love on him, play his music, it’s really rewarding to watch as his kid.”
Gill, who noted he “does not crave attention” was working on taking all the praise in stride.
“I don’t love attention, but I’m not afraid of it either,” Gill said. “I’m sure a bunch of things will touch me emotionally tonight. When I was young and dreaming of doing what I’m doing now, I didn’t think any of this was going to happen but, I had the guts to try. It was in my heart and it’s what I was meant to do.”
The special was indeed emotional. In addition to the performers, Sherly Crow, Emmylou Harris, Keb’ Mo’, and Rodney Crowell all acted as presenters throughout the night putting a focus on how, in addition to his musical contributions, Gill is “the nicest guy in the world.” Telling personal stories about how Gill helped them in their careers and has long been a friend to each of them, the special was made even sweeter with a keen focus on who Gill is off stage as well as on.
Tune in to CMT Giants: Vince Gill tonight (Sept. 16) to see all of the powerful performances that are capped off with a performance from Gill himself at 9p/8c. Find a full list of performers and presenters below.
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Corrina Grant Gill
Photo Credit: John Shearer / Essential Broadcast media