When Vince Gill moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s, the Eagles were flying high, still several years short of the breakup that would put an end to the band’s hit-making heyday. Over the decades that followed, he crossed paths with Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey often, both artists pursuing careers that explored the intersection of guitar-driven country, rock and soul. When Frey passed away last month, his death hit Gill hard, both as a fan and as a close friend.
“He was a world-class guitar player,” Gill told Rolling Stone Country several days after Frey’s passing. “For a long time, Don Felder and Joe were front and center taking the lead role, but I don’t think a lot of people realize that all that soulful guitar playing was Glenn.”
In tribute to his longtime friend, Gill performed several Eagles songs on the Grand Ole Opry last month, serving as the show’s host on January 22nd and 23rd.
“For me, the songs of the Eagles are some of the best songs that have ever come to light,” he told the crowd, just four days after Frey’s death. “So I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t honor my sweet friend Glenn and do a couple of his songs. I haven’t sung this song since I was 16 years old, and it sounded really scary. I have a tape of me singing it at 16 and it’s awful. I’m hoping tonight maybe I can remedy that awful rendition when I was a kid. Here’s ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling,’ in honor of Glenn.”
Gill leads the Grand Ole Opry’s house band in an emotional version of “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” which became one of the Eagles’ earliest hits in 1972. It’s a soulful, sentimental salute to one of country music’s kingpins, delivered by a fellow kingpin who knew him best.