Vince Gill Tackles Tough Subjects on Latest Album, 'Okie'

Vince Gill is tackling tough subjects on his latest album, Okie. The record, out Friday, Aug. 23, covers everything from regrets to his life with his wife, gospel singer Amy Grant, and even when a gym teacher tried to sexually abuse him as an adolescent.

“All I tried to do was have these songs maybe be about subjects that were tough, but maybe tell these stories without judgment,” Gill told Billboard. “That's what feels the best, there's not a lot of judgment.”

The 62-year-old previously opened up about "Forever Changed," acknowledging that the experience, while painful, could have been much, much worse.

"I had a gym teacher and basketball coach in seventh grade that tried to act inappropriately [toward] me," Gill recalled. "It felt wrong and nothing had happened per se other than him running his hand on my leg and whatnot. I said, 'That don't feel right,' and I jumped up and I ran … In a sense I was lucky but I have a little bit of perspective on how uncomfortable it was.

"These people are supposed to be protecting you and they're not," he continued. "You see people treating other people badly in all kinds of ways, not just sexually. I think if we don't talk about some of this stuff it will all stay suppressed and never have a chance to do any healing for anybody."

Gill also included, "When My Amy Prays," about Grant, and the differences between them, that others may not see.

"What prompted that song was I think most people assume that I'm married to Amy, that I had the same kind of life she did and [was] big in the church and it really wasn't the case with me," Gill explained. "They perceive me to be kind of similar to Amy and I'm just not … I know the best way to live is to honor your bride and so the song's intended to do that but also tell the truth about me."

The seasoned vocalist impressed even himself with his delivery of "When My Amy Prays."

"That’s the one song I think I really cut loose and sang," Gill said. "The rest of this record is all kind of a singer-songwriter, not trying too hard to really sing big."

Okie might be Gill's most far-reaching, and eclectic, record to date, but what ties all the songs together is that they are authentically Gill.

"It's not all rough and tough," said the Country Music Hall of Fame member. "There's 12 songs and they're all different. I’m trying to write some neat songs to make people think, make people feel something ... I've never been afraid of being emotional in music. It's where I go for grief, for joy, and for melancholy and so [it] makes sense to write about them too."


Purchase Okie by visiting Gill's website.

Photo Credit: Getty images / Terry Wyatt