Watch Vince Gill and Paul Franklin’s Tribute Performance of Buck Owens’ 1964 No. 1 Hit at the Grand Ole Opry

Vince Gill is among the best singers and guitar players in country music today. At the same time, his longtime friend and collaborator Paul Franklin is among the best steel guitarists the genre has to offer. They’ve come together several times over the years to keep the spirit of traditional country music alive. Most recently, they released Sweet Memories: The Music of Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys last year. A decade earlier, they recorded Bakersfield, a tribute to Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

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In August 2023, Gill and Franklin celebrated the release of Sweet Memories at the Grand Ole Opry. They took the stage to perform songs from both albums during the August 3 broadcast. While they were there, they took on the Buck Owens classic “Together Again.” Watch them perform the No. 1 hit from 1964 below.

[RELATED: Vince Gill and Paul Franklin Talk Ray Price Tribute Album]

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin Discuss Bakersfield

Paul Franklin and Vince Gill sat down with Billboard to discuss why they recorded Bakersfield in 2013. “The beauty of it all is that Buck and Merle were such great musicians,” Gill explained. “I think people lose sight of that a little bit because the songs were so great and they sang them so great. At their core, they were both musicians. Buck played guitar on Tommy Collins’ records and also on his own records. So did Merle. He also loved playing fiddle,” he added. “I think it’s a testament to two musicians surrounding themselves with better musicians.”

Buck Owens’ Buckaroos and Merle Haggards’ Strangers contained no shortage of great musicians. For example, Ralph Mooney is hailed as one of the greatest steel guitar players of all time. Mooney played in both bands before becoming part of Waylon Jennings’ band. Mooney’s style also had a massive impact on Franklin and countless others.

“I started playing pedal steel, and my dad bought me a Fender 400,” Franklin recalled. “The first record he bought me to hear how the instrument should be played was Buck’s You’re for Me. So, my first introduction to the music was through Ralph Mooney’s playing. Any time I managed to hit one of the licks that I heard, I was so excited. I just couldn’t get enough of it,” he explained. “To get to do this again takes me back to the core of why I became a musician.”

“Together Again” Was an Unexpected No. 1 Hit for Buck Owens

Buck Owens likely didn’t expect “Together Again” to be a hit when he released it in 1964. It was the B-side to “My Heart Skips a Beat.”

First, the single’s A-side hit the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Then, “Together Again” bumped it out of the top position. Later, “My Heart Skips a Beat” would go back to the top, dethroning its B-side to complete its run of six non-consecutive weeks at the top of the survey.

Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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