Turn Me Loose
While most people consider Vince Gill to be one of the superstars of the ‘90s, they may often forget that it was an arduous climb to the top before his final explosion that didn’t materialize until 1989’s “When I Call Your Name.” After a stint that ended in 1981 with the country rock band, Pure Prairie League, he released his first country album, on the RCA label, in 1983 called Turn Me Loose. With only a couple of the eight songs barely cracking the top 40, this album was most definitely not a commercial success.
Out of the eight songs featured on the album, five were written solely by Vince while the others feature up and coming writers such as Delbert McClinton, Emory Gordy and Mark D. Sanders. The Delbert McClinton tune, “Victim of Life’s Circumstances”, is the only song to which Vince did not contribute.
The album begins with the title track, which is a romper with a seventies rock flare. Other songs in that vein include “Victim of Life’s Circumstances” and “Don’t Say That You Love Me.” While one can still distinguish that it’s Vince who is singing, his vocals have not yet developed the complete depth or richness that we will eventually hear from him. This is not to say, however, that we are not given a healthy glimpse of what is to come, particularly from the album’s ballads.
“Oh Carolina” is a somber song from the perspective of a man who had hoped that the state could keep his love there with him. He asks, “I used to see her in your eyes/Oh Carolina, how could you let her go.” With prominent harmony vocals from Emmylou Harris, the mood of heartbreak is aptly captured here.
While “Carolina” may be one of the best songs on the album, the other ballads are worth hearing as well, especially “’Til The Best Comes Along.” It’s a straight country waltz where Vince admits that he “may not be the best looking guy in the world.” He self deprecatingly assures, “I won’t be depressed if I ain’t the best” and asks, “But will I do ‘til the best comes along?” Finally, the album closes with another solid country ballad, “Livin’ The Way I Do.” Throughout the song, we hear Vince hitting a low note that is not typical for him to include in his vocal performances, but rather satisfying all the same.
Although Vince Gill’s now 25-years-old album is not among his most memorable or successful, it serves as a good introduction to Vince Gill’s discography. While he’s still finding his voice and the production is a bit dated here, it is an album worth exploring. Not only does it demonstrate the beginning of Vince’s future writing prowess, it reveals the voice of a man who holds the promise of someone who will eventually become one of country music’s most respected artists.