The Washington Post

In concert: Vince Gill at the Birchmere

Country star Vince Gill played an evening of bluegrass at the Birchmere on Friday. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

After a couple of decades as one of country music’s most consistently popular frontmen, Gill now owns what he describes as a “really big house.”

But the visceral thrill of bluegrass still beckons the 54-year-old multi-instrumental master, and at the Birchmere Music Hall on Friday night he led an expansive four-hour set of classics by the likes of Bill Monroe (“You Won’t Be Satisfied That Way,” “My Rose of Old Kentucky”), the Stanley Brothers (“East Virginia Blues”) and Jimmy Martin (“My Walking Shoes”).

Gill manned the mandolin for the bulk of the evening, trading hot solos with the cream of the bluegrass community: D.C.’s own resonator guitar guru Mike Auldridge, banjoist Jim Mills, fiddler Jeff Guernsey, flatpicker Jeff White and upright bassist Dennis Crouch.

The collective was rounded out by Jon Randall, the Nashville singer-songwriter who co-penned the Brad Paisley-Alison Krauss hit “Whiskey Lullaby.” Randall delivered the haunting double-suicide tale with Gill supplying his trademark tenor harmony.

He shoehorned an emotional solo into Friday’s set, with his breakthrough single, “When I Call Your Name,” as well as the amusingly profane outlaw-country favorite “It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your [Expletive] Out All Day Long,” from his 2004 Notorious Cherry Bombs side project.

The latter cut, in its early stages, landed him in the doghouse with his wife, Christian music star Amy Grant. Some time later, Gill said, he spied her from the stage mouthing the chorus alongside a tall beer.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom