A country master nods to George Jones and the Eighties
Vince Gill is an encyclopedia of country tradition, whether he’s reviving western swing with the Time Jumpers, producing new standard-bearer Ashley Monroe, or wrapping his Oklahoma high tenor around “Sad One Comin’ On (Song for George Jones)” – a note-perfect honky-tonk weeper about the king of honky-tonk weepers. That’s the odd-card highlight of a set that focuses on smooth Eighties-style country-pop and ballad schmaltz, which after all is Nashville tradition, too. The title track is achey-breaky quiet storming with wit; “I Can’t Do This” is grand piano melodrama that might make even Richard Marx – who, as it happens, co-wrote two other songs here – blush. Gill vindicates it all, as much as humanly possible, with exquisite guitar work and soulful vulnerability. In a world of macho-posturing country bros, it’s surprisingly refreshing.