Vince Gill’s “Down to My Last Bad Habit” Defines Exceptional — Album Review

Vince Gill has been in the habit of making country music for over 4 decades now. While he says in his new album that he’s “Down to My Last Bad Habit,” it’s very clear that he hasn’t quit his good habit of making incredible country music.

Vince has not had the radio and sales success as he once did, but he has handled that with the grace, class and sense of humor that have defined him as an artist and a man. You won’t find him complaining that it’s a young man’s town now, but it kind of makes me mad. I can’t help but wonder why in the world they’re always playing the next big thing on the radio instead of Vince’s songs these days. I guess I have to realize that just as McDonalds may sell the most hamburgers, you won’t find many people saying they’re the best. Just because something’s popular or there’s a long line for it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best quality. Vince has gotten to the point in his career where you may have to work a little harder to find his music, but it’s completely worth the effort.

I’ve loved Vince and his music for years, but something about this new album stands out to me as one of his best.  For years I have heard him say that he strives to constantly play better, sing better and write better songs and just when you think he can’t possibly do that….he DOES! Vince shows true artist craftsmanship writing, or co-writing every song, co-producing, playing guitar and recording it in his home studio affectionately called “The House.” It was hard trying to find just the right adjectives to describe it, but exquisite and exceptional seem to do it the most justice.

Vince has played and sang on countless other artists’ projects. He’s joined on his here by Little Big Town on “Take Me Down,” new artist Cam blends so beautifully with him on “I’ll Be Waiting For You,” and contemporary jazz trumpeter Chris Botti is featured on “One More Mistake I Made,” which may be the most exquisite song on it.

Vince spans a wide range of styles on “Down to My Last Bad Habit,” going from “One More Mistake I Made,” which could be played on adult standards radio, to a great, stone-cold country song “Sad One Comin’ On,” which honors George Jones.   The rest of the songs land somewhere perfectly in the middle. A few standouts for me include “Reasons For The Tears I Cry” and “When It’s Love,” which are more up-tempo songs that remind me of some of his bigger hits of the 90s. “I’ll Be Waiting For You,” “I Can’t Do This,” and the title track are slower ballads that let his unmistakably amazing voice soar. And “Make You Feel Real Good” is a fun, rocking, bluesy little number that reminds me of a song of his called “Cowboy Up.”

I don’t know what it is exactly that makes someone like a song or not. Usually for me it’s the message and the lyrics, but sometimes it’s just the sound of it. Whether or not you can connect with all of these songs and like them as much as I do, there is no denying their quality. This is an exquisite album done by an exceptional artist and gentleman that makes me proud to be a long-time fan.

“Down To My Last Bad Habit” is available on Friday, February 12th. Vince continues to tour all the time and there are few shows more entertaining than seeing him tell stories, play guitar and sing. CMM can’t wait to see him on March 20th in Thousand Oaks California!


Written by Geoff Brown: CMM Contributor

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