A Q&A with Vince Gill

VinceGill_Narrow_BenchABC: As you travel around America, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing those living in the more rural parts of America?

Vince Gill (VG): The American countryside is full of small businesspeople – farmers, store owners, independent truckers – as well as dedicated people whose jobs depend on a thriving economy. I think the parts of this country that need help are looking for a hand up, not a hand out. Give the people the tools and they will do great things.

ABC: What do you see as the value of America’s rural communities to the country as a whole?

VG: There are so many things – rural communities feed America, supply its energy, volunteer for the military. They contribute out of proportion to their size, and everybody in the country benefits.

ABC: What inspired you to become part of America’s Best Communities competition?

VG: I’m from the American heartland – Oklahoma. My mom grew up on a farm and my dad is from a little town that doesn’t even have a stoplight. This vast part of our country is made of up of some of the finest, hardest-working, most honorable people anywhere. But they don’t have it easy, and they need our help.

ABC: Which values have remained constant in rural America, and what would rural Americans like our leaders to know about those values?

VG: Treat people fairly, work hard, treasure your friends and family – it all springs from knowing in your heart what is right, and doing it.

ABC: How does this relate to your music?

VG: Some of my favorite songs are about rural America and its people, and there’s a lot of small town community in me. About 10 years ago, Al Anderson and I wrote and recorded a song called “What You Give Away,” and one of the lines is, “The measure of a man is one who lends a hand.” I truly believe that, and I believe that music can inspire people to do good things.

ABC: What can America gain by nurturing the traditions and hard work of so many people?

VG: First, we have to keep people on the farms and in the small communities to supply the rest of the country. We have to make it possible for them to make a living. Then we have to treat them with respect, listen to their concerns, and include them in the future. Rural America is truly the backbone of America, and its strength is needed for us all to succeed.