“Oh, the lonely sound of my voice calling
Is driving me insane.
And just like rain, the tears keep falling.
Nobody answers when I call your name.”

 

 

Nov. 14: Sweet-voiced Vince Gill sings those words like he means them in his fantastic interpretation of this, a song he wrote with Tim DuBois that was the title track of his first MCA Nashville album. Released 20 years ago today, it’s the album that made Gill a star.

As good as his performance is, the hallmarks of the record in my view are Patty Loveless’ harmony, Paul Franklin’s steel and Barry Beckett’s piano. It appears to be Franklin’s hands and guitar you see on this video, but the woman in the white dress is not Loveless — it’s Nashville songwriter Matraca Berg. That fact is addressed in the comments appended to a stellar album review by British country fan “Occasional Hope” on the blog “My Kind of Country.” Give it a read, because on this matter, she speaks for me.

I tried in vain to find the great clip of Gill singing this on a Grand Ole Opry telecast from late in Roy Acuff’s life. Acuff looked upon the Opry as home; he was a part of every show, often standing on the stage even when he wasn’t performing. That was the case this particular night. There’s one shot I’ll never forget: Gill at the mic in the foreground, Acuff off mic and in the background, singing along, with tears streaming down his face. It’s a powerful image, and what my mind sees each time I hear this wonderful song from Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill.

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