Cliffie with multi-talented artist, Vince Gill, who had just received a CMA award for “When I Call Your Name.” Cliffie loved Vince’s sense of humor and said in his talent show book, “Vince is the perfect example of balancing out a show with music and laughter. Have you ever seen him host any of the CMA Award shows? His natural wit makes him a great entertainer and emcee!” Cliffie first met Vince years ago through his son, Curtis Stone. As Cliffie wrote in his book, “I had my ‘Country Showdown’ concerts for three consecutive summers at a family-oriented venue called Alpine Village in Torrance, CA. Curtis was my band leader and many of his buddies were in my house band (‘Electric Cowboy Band’). One of the guitar players and singers who appeared on my show with Curtis’ band from time to time was Vince Gill (who got a record deal with MCA about six years later and who would later become a major star). All musicians and singers pay their dues to be where they are today and Vince certainly paid his. And it all starts with one’s childhood, which is the foundation. Vince was born in Oklahoma and his father encouraged him to play the guitar (just like Cliffie’s father, Herman the Hermit, encouraged him to play the bass and to become a professional). In the process, Vince also learned other stringed instruments. In his early years, he played with a local bluegrass group called ‘Mountain Smoke’. After he graduated from high school in 1975, he began his musical journey in earnest. He moved to Kentucky and worked with several bluegrass groups - ‘Bluegrass Alliance” and Ricky Skagg’s ‘Boone Creek Outfit.’ Later, Vince journeyed to Los Angeles and worked with an excellent fiddle player, Byron Berline (whom Cliffie had used many times in his recording sessions) and his group ‘Sundance.’ (This is the time period where Vince sang a number of times with Curtis’ ‘Electric Cowboy Band’ at Cliffie’s ‘Country Showdown’ in Torrance, CA.) Then he became the lead singer of a country/rock group called ‘Pure Prairie League.’ He recorded several albums with them and this group had a Top Ten Pop hit called ‘Let Me Love You Tonight.’ Eventually, he relocated to Nashville. In 1982, he joined Rodney Crowell’s backup band, called the ‘Cherry Bombs,’’ whose members included Emory Gordy, Jr., and Tony Brown (both of whom were destined to become top producers in Nashville). Around 1984, he signed with RCA records and his first album (produced by Emory Gordy, Jr.) was called ‘Turn Me Loose.’ He sang a duet with Rosanne Cash called ‘If It Weren’t For Him,” which was his first Top Ten hit. He recorded several other albums for RCA and during this time period, Vince was also establishing himself as a first class session player and songwriter. In 1989, Gill signed a contract with MCA. His debut album with MCA was titled ‘When I Call Your Name’ (produced by Tony Brown). His title track single ‘When I Call Your Name,’ was his first break-out hit which earned him his first Grammy Award for ‘Best Country Song’ and a CMA Award. This album sold over 2 million copies. Vince certainly fulfilled the prophecy of his first RCA album titled ‘Turn Me Loose’ because this was only the beginning of his talent being turned loose which would make him a superstar. Cliffie said that Vince was that rarified artist who had the whole package: a poised, witty emcee who truly enjoys sharing the spotlight with others; an accomplished musician, an award-winning songwriter, and a tenor voice that he uses to express his heart-felt emotions. Combine all those attributes with the fact that Vince is one of the nicest and classiest guys that you could ever hope to meet and you’ve got a man who is beloved by all! Vince surrounds himself with musicians and friends who are of like mind. One of them is John Hobbs who has been Vince’s piano player and band leader since 2000 and who has produced several of his albums. They both play in a superstar group of musicians called the ‘Notorious Cherry Bombs’ which is lead by Vince and Rodney Crowell (the other members include Tony Brown on piano, Eddie Bayers on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass.) Vince's resume and bio are much too long to continue here. To sum it up to date: Vince has won 18 Country Music Association Awards including ‘Entertainer of the Year’ in 1993 and 1994. He’s received 20 Grammy Awards. He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2007, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 6, 2012. He’s won 4 Academy of Country Music Awards; and on September 24, 2012, the Academy of Country Music presented Vince with their ‘Career Achievement Award’ at their 6th Annual ACM’s Honors Award Show. But most important of all, Vince is a great humanitarian (who has been involved in countless charities and benefits), and a great ambassador for country music! To view his bio, massive discography, numerous awards, and future tours, visit: www.vincegill.com.