Monday night, November 10th, The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert played host to a country legend and a band filled with some of the most accomplished musicians you will ever see. Vince Gill, along with the western swing band The Time Jumpers rolled into town ready to show the crowd a good time…and that they most certainly did.
The night kicked off with Vince Gill strolling out on the stage right on time with just a smile and a guitar. He took a seat on a stool, introduced himself and told us he was the opening act. The crowd chuckled and then Vince began to play, immediately enthralling the audience with his unassuming way, perfect tenor voice and his off the charts guitar skills. As I sat and watched him from my front row seat (lucky doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt sitting there) I couldn’t help but be in awe. Here sat a man who had more awards than I can count and was just recently awarded the BMI Icon Award for songwriting along with the CMA Irving Waugh Award of Excellence and he had no problem being the “opening act” and then just being a part of the band. There is no ego, just a man and his guitar playing the music he loves. Vince instantly had the crowd cracking up as he talked about his dad, writing songs with his buddy Rodney Crowell, an unforgettable night of Karaoke back in the day and other hysterical anecdotes.
He ran through some of his biggest hits including, “Look At Us,” “Whenever You Come Around,” “When I Call Your Name” and “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” You could here a pin drop in the room as the crowd listened to his perfect voice hit all the high notes. Vince joked with us that he was making sure everyone heard their favorite songs so people wouldn’t request Vince songs during The Time Jumpers portion of the show. I think he beyond pleased the crowd with his stories and hits during his hour solo set as he got a standing ovation as he left the stage before intermission.
The second part of the night brought Vince back out on stage, but this time as a member of a 10 piece band. The Time Jumpers play timeless music as fiddle player Kenny Sears always shares with the crowd. They came out and kicked the night off with a rousing instrumental number that showcased every member of the band. As soon as they start playing you realize you are hearing something special. They are truly the best of the best. Not only do they create a unique sound and blow you away with their talent, but their camaraderie and respect for one another on stage is something that resonates with anyone watching.
The music was phenomenal. Joe Spivey, a fiddler, took a turn on the lead vocals for “I Hear Ya Talkin,” Billy Thomas (a newer member of this band, but a staple in Vince’s band) is the drummer and sang an original song he wrote called “Blue Highway.” The song was fantastic and it was great to see Billy in another light…his voice was truly awesome! Ranger Doug, who is best known for being in Riders in the Sky, also took center stage for a couple songs, along with Kenny Sears who is an Opry regular and known for working with legend Mel Tillis.
Of course Vince played guitar and took his turn on lead vocals a few times as well with “Faint of Heart,” “My Window Faces the South,” and an incredible performance of the classic “Six Pack to Go.” I have always wanted to hear Vince sing it live and it was a goosebump moment. His voice and inflections, along with the guitar licks added up to a performance that tops most anything I have ever seen. A standing ovation hopefully showed him how much the audience enjoyed his version of the song.
The Time Jumpers played for about an hour and half and the night flew by. Every single player in the band is an intricate part of the puzzle. Paul Franklin’s steel guitar skills are superb and a real treat to see live. If you have never seen this band play you should add it to your list of things to do. I can’t say enough about how talented they are. I have to give a shout out to ALL members of the band because it wouldn’t be what it is without each one of them. The Time Jumpers consist of Kenny Sears, Brad Albin, Larry Franklin, Paul Franklin, Ranger Doug, Andy Reiss, Jeff Taylor, Billy Thomas, Vince Gill, Joe Spivey, and Dawn Sears. Unfortunately Dawn was unable to be there. She is currently fighting Lung Cancer. I have heard her sing before and her voice is one of the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear. She is in our thoughts and prayers.
When the night was over I listened to audience members as they exited the venue and what I heard confirmed what I already know. Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers are a class act and their live performances literally leave people amazed by their talent. It is my hope that one day a band like The Time Jumpers receives the national attention it deserves. To see this level of talent on a stage is truly nothing short of a blessing. If you are ever in Nashville on a Monday night be sure to stop by 3rd and Lindsley to see them live, you will not be disappointed. Lastly I must also reiterate how incredible it is to see kindness and humbleness pour off a stage. Kenny Sears thanked everyone for coming, and thanked the venue for having them there. It was heart warming to see and just makes me respect them even more.
Thanks to Vince Gill and The Time Jumpers for a SUPERB night of music!
To find out where you can catch them on the road visit