I read that Vince Gill is stepping down as the host of the annual Country Music Association awards. Why?
—John R., California
The affable Gill, the award show’s host for 12 years, says he’s stepping down to concentrate on his music. A song from his 2003 album, Next Big Thing, was nominated for a Grammy, but ignored by CMA voters, who perhaps take the easygoing entertainer for granted. “My greatest fear is that I’ll walk out there and people will start rolling their eyes like, ‘Oh great, not him again,'” he joked last year about his hosting duties. But, Gill, a father of two daughters who is married to singer Amy Grant, promises with a hint of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back!” In the meantime, he’s involved in a number of projects, including a studio reunion of the Cherry Bombs, Rodney Crowell’s old backup band, with Crowell, keyboardist Tony Brown, and steel guitar player Hank DeVito. The idea sprung from Crowell’s appearance on a Gill showcase in 2002. “Rodney called the next day and said, ‘Hey man, I was so inspired last night,'” Gill recalls. Then the band jammed for a music industry function, and they all knew they wanted to make an album together. “There’s something about being with those guys that makes me the most comfortable I ever feel playing music,” Gill says. “Rodney’s my hero.” No release date has been announced.