Vince Gill Reveals His Pick for Greatest Country Artist of All Time

The debate over the best country artist of all time has raged for years. It will likely continue until the human habitation on this planet comes to an end. After all, music and art are subjective and country music has decades of artists to choose from. Some fans couldn’t give a firm answer. Others chose their answer and it is a hill they’re prepared to die on. Vince Gill is among the latter.

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Fans know Gill as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and one of the nicest guys in the genre. However, long before he was asking for “One More Last Chance” on the radio, the Oklahoma native was a fan of country music. During an early episode of The Big Interview with Dan Rather, he revealed his pick for the best country artist of all time.

[RELATED: Vince Gill Gives Perfect Answer to Who Is the Greatest Guitar Player Ever]

Vince Gill on the Greatest Country Music Artist of All Time

“Present company accepted, who is the greatest country artist of all time?” Rather asked during the conversation. Gill took a deep breath to give himself a moment to think about how to phrase his answer. However, it became clear that he already had a name in mind.

“Oh, my goodness. That’s a great question because you would probably get just a handful of people that would be on that list,” Vince Gill said. “A lot of people would say Hank Williams Sr. A lot of people would say Jimmie Rodgers. Some might say the Carter Family. Some might say Roy Acuff,” he added, outlining many fans’ picks for the greatest of all time. However, his answer wasn’t among those greats.

“Because of the age I am, at 57, I missed Hank Sr. He died in ’52. For me, it’s Merle Haggard,” he stated. “He epitomized everything I wanted to try to be,” Gill explained. “He was a great singer, an amazing guitar player—a lot of people don’t understand how good of a musician Merle is, and a songwriter of the greatest order,” he added.

Gill went on to defend his position. “He’s had 60 years of an impact. Hank Sr. had about four years. In those four years, what he did was unbelievable. People will probably tell me I’m a knucklehead for saying that. Just the fact that he’s had that many years to be that great,” he explained. “He’s always been at the top of my list.”

Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation

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