As a person who knows of Bakersfield and the country music scene. With the “Bakersfield sound” arriving from country music legends like Buck Owens, Cousin Herb, Red Simpson and the humble man Mr. Merle Haggard, who all his life, Bakersfield his hometown and a very honored and proud of it. Speaking of Merle Haggard the new release from musician superstar Vince Gill. Arriving on the music scene in 1979 with the music group Pure Prarie League. After nearly 40 years in the music industry Vince Gill arrives back on the scene with a new release called “Okie”Growing up in Norman Oklahoma, Vince Gill learned the sounds that he enjoyed, such songs like Merle Haggards’ “Okie From Muskogee” where that sound cemented Vinces feel for that sound. Inspired from the Dust Bowl days, where most people left from Oklahoma & traveled West into parts of California, namely the San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield was part of those that settled into California to make a new life for themselves. Being on the road and hearing of the passing of Merle Haggard, Gill went right for the pen full of inspiration. “Merle was his blueprint” and with this the inspiration for an album began. With his wife of nineteen years Amy is always a true believer and never judgmental in all his work. The first song on this amazing and soon to legendary is called “I don’t Want to ride the rails no more” an amazing song that has a feel of crispness to Gills’ vocals and the acoustic guitar is excellent. “The Price of Regret” Vince nails it with his amazing and heartfelt vocals stretch the limit and what true emotional value this song projects. With all this amazing songs arrives a song that provokes tears and chalked with major emotion, the song is called “Forever Changed” and Vince shows his true inflection within the intensive songwriting abilities and truly deemed to be a classic and solid gold single. “An Honest Man” Vince reflects who Vince is as a person and as an “Honest Man” and this song beams with sincerity. “What Choice Will You Make” about life and all of it’s choices and the outcome will be on “What Choices you Make”. “Black and White” Vince approaches the way we look at things in life, where sometimes we have to much and feel like all we need is to go back to basics, termed “Black and White”. The Red Words” is an amazing song that Vince seems to be singing about his amazing love for singer songwriter Amy Grant and above all his wife that keeps his happiness alive through her total support of what he does and for what she does. “When Amy Prays” is another superb and phenomenal and so articulate and a beautiful ballad which is dedicated to Amy and her unwavering allegiance to her faith, and where sometimes he has troubles with, but through her prayers keeps his own alliance with God straight. ” A Letter To My Mama” another inspired by the late Merle Haggard and is truly an marvelous way of making it feel as if he’s talking straight to his mother in a letter and I felt the passion and raw emotion that Vince projected within this wonderful song. “Nothing Like A Guy Clark Song” a amazing song with a tribute to Guy Clark and a very descriptive yet narrative of the life of singer Guy Clark. The next song called “That Old Man of Mine” picks up the tempo and Vince once again singing from his heart projects raw and emotional feelings within this song a song even brought tears to my eyes, feeling the emotion right along with Vince as he sang about “That Old Man Of Mine”. It’s truly amazing to know that with such talent that Vince brings to his music and allows the music to have a pulse of it’s own and take on a life through Vince’s tremendous vocal range and pure sensitivities with his outstanding harmonies. The last song on this amazing & wonderful and so emotionally pleading album is called “A World Without Haggard” and Vince truly reflects and allows you to reflect on how the world truly is without Haggard. Merle was a guy who sang about life, and how is was for him, Vince Gill through his gift of song does the same within the confines of this truly honorable and honest and heartwarming song and a wonderful tribute to the late Merle Haggard. Thank you Vince for your incredible gift of song and musicality for the last 40 years and thank you for this amazing album and labor of love and your incredible style that never stops amazing me. This album will always be cherished by me and is a true American Treasure. I am truly blessed to have your music in my heart and in my life with a voice that will remain forever.
Steven F. Adams
Music Reviewer Publicist/ Owner Sound Wave One
c 2019 used by permission
for more on Vince Gill