In an interview with Oklahoman newspaper NewsOK writer, Brandy McDonnell, Gill shared some details on what to expect on his upcoming release.
“The running gag is ‘How many songs are on this one? Do you have an eight-CD record?’ ” he said, laughing. “I just showed up with the songs I showed up with for this new record. And at this point in life, to me, the real success is measured in my own improvement, not in how many records get sold or if they get played on the radio. My records don’t get played on the radio as much as they used to; I wish they did, but they don’t. I never quit hoping that will happen again, but if it doesn’t, that’s OK, too. It never has defined the results of these records.
“The last three or four records I’ve made, I’ve felt like I made great strides in improving — better songs, better singing, better playing, better grooves, better feel, better sound. ... There’s so many ways to find yourself getting better at what you’re doing. It may not get noticed like it did before, but you can’t let that be your barometer and your definition of whether it’s good or not.”
The forthcoming album, which he has yet to give a title, will be just one CD, but he can hear improvements in his songcraft.
“It’s what was in my heart. There’s some really beautiful songs on here, there’s some really sad songs on here, and good, make-you-think songs.”
While “These Days” featured an array of guest stars including Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Bonnie Raitt, along with fellow Oklahomans Trisha Yearwood and Katrina Elam, Gill is keeping his 2011 album strictly a family affair. His wife, Amy Grant, and Jenny Gill will again sing with him on the new album, but they aren’t the only ones.
“My daughter Corrina, who is 9, is making her singing debut on this record, singing with me. You know, she watches an awful lot of Disney Channel, and I’m trying to steer her to the blues side of music,” he said. “And I had this song, this friend of mine ... that last year had a real rough stretch and unfortunately he murdered a woman and then took his own life a short time after that. He was one of my golfing buddies, and I wrote this song for him called ‘Billy Paul.’ ”
He played the song in the car one morning while driving the girl to school, and she wanted to hear it again.
“I played it again, and by the time it was finished, she was back there just singing like a bird. ... She was really taken with this song, and it’s a song about the whole of what happened. You know, very dark. So I had this idea of what it would be like if she sang on it. It would either be really haunting or really horrible,” he said with a laugh.
“So I took her into the studio, and she sang along with me, and it’s really haunting. So, I wanted to get just a little bit of Disney Channel out of her brain, and now to have her first song be a murder-suicide ballad in the great tradition of country music, I asked Amy, ‘Is this really wrong?’ And she was like, ‘No it’s really great, it’s really awesome.’ ”