Lonesome Onry and Mean has been holding his breath for a few days, keeping a secret. We've been waiting on one last signature on the contracts before announcing one of the biggest shows ever at Conroe's Sounds of Texas music series. But Wednesday night we got an email from Mark Germino confirming that all the dots were in place and all the Ts crossed on a deal that will bring Nashville songwriting vet Tony Arata, Germino, and Vince Gill to the Crighton Theater in Conroe August 21 for a two-hour acoustic writers-in-the-round. LOM's significant other saw a similar program during one of her forays to Nashville two years back. Nashville songwriting genius John Scott Sherrill was also on that bill. She phoned LOM when the show was over and we thought she might be in need of smelling salts at any moment. She had watched the spectacle from a front table with Germino's family. "It was great," she said. "And Vince Gill was so cool. I was standing in line for my ticket and he just drove up in this beat-up old car, got his guitar out of the back seat and walked in just like he was going to an open mic night or something. The damn guy's in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but he was totally unpretentious."
For folks who haven't heard of Arata, he's known most for writing Garth Brooks' massive hit "The Dance," but also wrote mega-hits for Clay Walker ("Dreaming With My Eyes Open"), Lee Roy Parnell ("Holding My Own"), and Patty Loveless ("Here I Am"). The list of performers who've performed his work is staggering: Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, Don Williams, Hal Ketchum, Suzy Bogguss, Randy Travis, Trisha Yearwood and Reba McEntire.
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If you don't know who Vince Gill is, you've been living under a rock for about 40 years. He started out in Ricky Skaggs band, participated with Byron Berline in the whole California new-grass revolution, made three albums as leader of Pure Prairie League, was asked to join Dire Straits, and on and on and on. Here is a brief excerpt summary from his official biography:
"Vince Gill has sold more than 26 million albums. He has earned 18 CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1993 and 1994. He is tied with George Strait for having won the most CMA Male Vocalist Awards (five), and is currently second only to Brooks and Dunn for accumulating the most CMA Awards in history. Gill is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and has received 19 Grammy Awards to date, the most of any male Country artist.
"Besides being known for his talent as a performer, musician and songwriter, Gill is regarded as one of Country Music's best known humanitarians, participating in hundreds of charitable events throughout his career.
"In August of 2007, the Country Music Association inducted Gill as the newest member of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame."
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Germino and Gill have been friends for years and have written songs together. LOM's SO recalls that at the Nashville show Germino introduced one of his songs by saying that he and Gill had written the tune "17 years ago, but I'm still waiting on him to cut it."
If you're a fan of Hall of Fame quality songwriting and artistic integrity, mark it on your calendar and get a ticket. This will be one for the ages.