Out of all of today’s popular music genres, country is handily the most politically and socially conservative. As such, you’re unlikely to hear really much of anything personal from or even about the not insignificant number of LGBTQ artists, songwriters, and personnel associated with one faction of the profitable country music machine or another.
The fact that this remains true today is sad and troubling. Yet at least the situation has marginally improved over the last decade, as more artists become less circumspect in talking about either their own sexuality or their support for their LGBTQ friends and colleagues.
Case in point: Vince Gill, who has subtly, surely revealed himself over time to be a bona fide LGBTQ ally, of which there are still too few among today’s reigning country establishment.
In 2018, Gill caused a stir and prompted a standing ovation with a surprise, 11th-hour pro-equality speech at the annual Pride-celebrating Concert for Love and Acceptance in Nashville presented by GLAAD and the event’s founder Ty Herndon — the first major male country artist to come out as gay, back in 2014, and whom Gill calls a friend — and hosted by CMT’s Cody Alan, the country media star who came out in 2017.
Last year, Gill was one of the first, loudest, and boldest-named country superstars offering public praise to T.J. Osborne immediately after the Brothers Osborne lead singer became the first openly gay country superstar.
Gill has also shown tacit support, and given early career boosts, to at least two gay female country artists by contributing backing vocals on their debut albums: Brandy Clark with 2013’s 12 Stories and Sean Della Croce with 2021’s Illuminations.
While Gill, who is tied with Brooks & Dunn for winning the most CMA Awards (18) and who has also won more Grammy Awards (22) than any other male country artist, is best known as a solo act, he’s also been a member of one band or another for the past several years — including his work with one of the world’s best-selling bands.
Gill originally started touring with The Eagles shortly after the death of founding member Glenn Frey in 2016, and these days is a full-fledged member alongside Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit.
Gill launched his first solo tour in three years earlier this month, a two-month stint planned to take advantage of a rare break in the perennially touring schedule of The Eagles. In addition to support from his regular four-piece band, Gill has invited his regular collaborator Wendy Moten to join him on tour, chiefly as his opening act.
Moten, a Black country-soul artist and former backing vocalist for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, gained newfound national attention in her own right last year as a finalist and the Season 21 runner-up on The Voice. Gill sounds as gracious and supportive as ever in an official tour release praising Moten.
“I’ve always enjoyed sharing a stage with Wendy, whether she was singing harmonies for me, or when we were in The Time Jumpers together,” Gill says. “It’s always been my wish that more of the world could hear her, so being able to feature her each night of this tour is something I look forward to.”
Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30 at Capital One Hall’s Main Theater, 7750 Capital One Tower Rd., Tysons, Va.
Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $22.75 to $99.75. Visit www.capitalonehall.com.
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