Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, along with representatives from the Nashville Predators, the legendary Loveless Cafe, MCA Nashville, the local media and dozens of industry friends gathered Thursday (Oct. 13) for a lunch in downtown Nashville honoring Vince's contributions to the city. It was all part of 'Vince Gill Week,' declared by Mayor Dean, who also tapped the 20-time Grammy winner to be the Grand Marshall of this year's Christmas parade.
In addition to several glowing speeches about the legendary singer, there were also several gifts given to him in commemoration of Vince Gill Week. Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the musician with a pair of turntable-shaped cuff links, along with the announcement that traffic signal boxes near Nashville's Music Row are currently adorned with photos of Vince and speakers that play his music. The Loveless Cafe will also be playing Vince Gill music in its restaurant and store every day in November, as they celebrate Vince Gill Month. His record label, MCA Nashville, gave Vince a plaque highlighting his larger-than-life career accomplishments: 26 million albums sold, 24 No. 1 singles, 20 Grammys and 18 Country Music Association awards, as well as 20 years as a member of Grand Ole Opry and inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Fender guitars teamed up with another legendary guitar slinger, Eric Clapton, to present the country superstar with one of the new Clapton-series Tweed Tremolux amplifiers -- making Vince the only other person besides Clapton himself to own the hand-wired, custom amplifier.
But it was another gift that got a lot of laughs from the lunch crowd: Vince's very own bobblehead! Nashville Predators/Bridgestone Arena CEO Jeff Cogen unveiled a bobblehead doll in Vince's likeness (sporting a Predators jersey, of course) that will be given away at an upcoming game. Vince and wife Amy Grant are huge fans of Nashville's pro-hockey team and go to almost every home game. The honors continued at last night's game, where he was given his own Predators jersey and performed with daughter Jenny Gill during the first intermission.
"I'm grateful that people are saying 'well done,'" said Vince, clearly moved by the turnout of people eager to give him a pat on the back. "At the end of the day, when anybody does something for somebody else, it's the most common thing to say 'thank you.' This is what that feels like -- people as heartfelt as they can possibly be saying thank you." Choking back tears, the 54-year-old music legend then assured that he's "never had an agenda" when it comes to giving back.
Vince's new album, 'Guitar Slinger,' hits stores Oct. 24.