A member in good standing of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Vince Gill has apparently been having the time of his life, playing fast and loose with the hat-bound strictures of the Nashville template in the years since he racked up 20 Grammy awards and peddled platters in excess of 24 million copies.
Always pushing that envelope in collaborations that have paired him with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Dire Straits and Alice Cooper, the former frontman of Pure Prairie League revisited his band-member roots upon parting ways with the Music Row record biz in 2012. When the serial CMA Entertainer of the Year takes to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre this Wednesday, November 19, he’ll be one of the guys (and gal) in a gloriously democratic organization known as thee Time Jumpers.
Described as “an assemblage of high-dollar studio musicians who wanted to spend some spare time drinking beer and jamming with their sonically gifted buddies,” the Time Jumpers — the name evokes transdimensional sci-fi applications that range from Stargate to Stan Lee — have had something of a revolving-door roster since the original lineup convened in 1998. With Gill as one of several vocalists and guitarists, the current combo is one of the most acclaimed (and most stable) yet; an 11-piece organization that further features Dennis Crouch (upright bass), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), “Ranger Doug” Green (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), Andy Reiss (electric guitar), Dawn Sears (vocals), Kenny Sears (vocals, fiddle), Joe Spivey (fiddle, vocals) Jeff Taylor (accordion, piano) and Billy Thomas (drums, vocals).
It goes without saying that there’s about a century and a half of country music history represented therein, with direct connections from Opry icons to American Idols and everything in between. Still touring behind their debut studio album, the band puts forth a big, Western-swinging sound that does jukebox justice to an eclectic set of C&W classics, surprise covers, Gill grabbers and originals that conjure the joyous big-band, big-sky blast of Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel.
Tickets for Wednesday’s 8 pm performance ($29 – $79) are available right here.