Vince Gill is notoriously a difficult person to shop for at Christmas, with even his wife, Amy Grant, struggling to find the perfect present for him. But one year, Grant recalls finding the ideal gift for her country music icon husband.
"Here's the hard thing about shopping for Vince is, he is an observer," Grant shared with PopCulture.com at a recent media event. "So, even if I feel like I've knocked it out of the park, he's never going to wave pom poms. Ever. When you give somebody a gift that you're excited about, you want them to go, 'That's awesome.' But when you give Vince a gift, what his natural inclination is to consider what all the possibilities could have been. What it looks like is like really a swing and a miss."
But one time, Grant got really personal with a gift, which turned into one of the favorite ones Gill has ever received.
"The best gift I ever gave him, and he did react to this one, Guy Clark was one of his favorite songwriters," Grant said. "Vince was on the original session of a song that Guy recorded called, 'Randall Knife.' At the time, Guy, I guess he was 40 when he wrote the song. Vince was 25, but the whole song was about a father passing away and all the memories. Vince has told the story so many times. He said when they took a break on that session, all the musicians were in line for the pay phone to call their dads."
When Gill was 40, his own father, also a lawyer, passed away, which made the song, which says, "My father was a good man / A lawyer by his trade / And only once did I ever see / Him misuse the blade," that much more personal to Gill.
"Suddenly, the song was his reality," Grant explained. "I got Guy's number through a mutual friend and I said, 'Would you hand-write the lyric to 'Randall Knife'? I'm going to frame it ... like a museum framing for Vince.' He said, 'I'll send it to you in the mail.' So, I'm just waiting, waiting, waiting.
"A manila envelope showed up and when I opened it up," she continued. "He had with a blade, cut out of his composition notebook the two pages, which meant that whatever songs were on the backs of those pages – because you know in a composition notebook, you write on the two facing pages – and he had cut out the original lyric. I nearly wept. We have it framed in our home."
Photo Credit: Getty images/John Shearer