In August, when Vince Gill celebrated his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, he was joined by several special guests, including veteran country stars Bill Anderson, Rodney Crowell and Patty Loveless. But as dedicated to preserving country music’s history as the iconic Country Music Hall of Fame member is, Gill has also always been a champion for younger, up-and-coming artists.
One such performer is Charlie Worsham, whose skilled guitar work and affecting tenor vocals are unquestionably inspired and influenced by Gill, who also appears on Worsham’s excellent 2013 debut LP, Rubberband.
Although his regular guitarists were otherwise engaged on the night of his Opry milestone celebration, the “When I Call Your Name” singer invited Worsham to step in and play guitar throughout the two marathon shows that night. The Mississippi-born singer-songwriter also took the spotlight for a poignant version of Gill’s “The Key to Life,” from the Grammy winner’s 1998 album, The Key. The song offers Gill’s heartfelt reflections on his relationship with his late father, and although it was never released as a single, it remains one of the standout tracks in the master tunesmith’s canon.
Gill and Worsham shared the stage again this past weekend at Sunday’s outdoor concert “Forever Country Live,” which also featured Patty Loveless and the Time Jumpers (in which Gill plays). The event kicked off the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards and Country Music Month (October) at Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville.