NORMAN — Vince Gill was born in Norman in 1957. The country music star is coming back home for a show at Riverwind July 18. Tickets for the performance are sold out.
“I do consider Norman home although I don’t consciously remember it because of leaving there when I was four years old,” Gill said in a telephone interview with the Transcript.
“I feel like I know it because of old family pictures. They tell the story and I know I lived on McKinley Avenue. I’ve been by the house and used to go feed the ducks down there and go to the ballgames.”
Gill’s family moved to Oklahoma City where he began kindergarten. His father went to law school at Oklahoma University and had a milk delivery route to pay the bills.
“My mom took in kids and fixed hair,” Gill said. “Those are my memories of Norman.”
His earliest musical recollection is of his grandmother playing “How Great Thou Art” on the piano and later his dad taking him to a Chet Atkins concert.
“The first concert I went to by myself was Paul Revere and the Raiders,” Gill said.
Gill played in a few bands around central Oklahoma in his youth but his big time career is most closely associated with Nashville. Throughout he’s always had a passion for working with other artists from these parts including Reba McEntire who recorded “Oklahoma Swing” with him in 1990. He agreed that it’s a good question why so many talented musicians call Oklahoma home.
“I don’t even know,” Gill said. “It’s such a central place that’s common-sense and matter-of-fact with traditions that aren’t really southern or northern either one. It was Indian Territory and people scratched their life out of the dirt. It’s tough and fair with really nice people.”