Vince Gill Explains The Reason Don Henley Hired Him After Glenn Frey’s Passing

During a recent interview with Lexington Herald-Leader, Vince Gill discussed why Don Henley chose him as the new Eagles member following Glenn Frey’s death.

In the band, Gill acts as the co-lead guitarist, alongside playing rhythm guitars, singing backup, and regularly taking on lead vocals, taking over Frey’s part. Explaining Henley’s reaction when asked why he picked him to join the Eagles, the singer said:

“They asked Don, ‘Why the country guy?’ He smiled and said, ‘Vince knows how to be in a band.’ That was high praise for me. I was really grateful to hear that. The truth is I’ve done this too long to not know what the gig is supposed to be.”

Fan Reactions To Gill’s Involvement

Revealing how fans respond to his contribution to the band, Vince continued:

“There are a lot of people out there that enjoy the fact that I’m in this band and like what I do. There are also people who want to hear the music the way they know it. I’m kind of the same. I’ve had 48 years of hearing Glenn sing certain songs, but you have to look at this a little realistically.”

Gill’s First Performance With The Eagles

Later in the conversation, the musician also reflected on his feelings while playing his first show with the Eagles:

“The first gig I did was in 2017 at Dodger Stadium, so I’m already scared. I mean, L.A. is where the Eagles got their start and here I was at the first gig since Glenn had passed. I could feel the apprehension in the crowd. It was palpable. I could feel it. Then I got through the chorus of ‘Take It to the Limit,’ and I felt the whole place just take a deep breath. It was like they were going, ‘We’re going to be okay.'”

Vince Reflects On Becoming An Eagle

While Gill joining the band seemed unexpected to many of his country music followers, it wasn’t as unlikely as it might seem, as he covered an Eagles song in 1993 and collaborated with Henley on a 2015 country album. Speaking to Taste of Country in 2017 following his participation in the band, Gill shared how it felt to be a member of the Eagles, noting:

“In my mind, I always thought I’d have made a good Eagle. But in a million years, I never would have seen this coming. It’s pretty surreal. I turned 60 recently, and to get to be a part of this amazing legacy of songs, that’s the greatest part of all this for me.”

The singer is currently on the road with the Eagles on their Long Goodbye concert tour. After performing in Lexington, Kentucky on November 14, the band will end the 2023 dates of their tour with a gig in St. Paul, Minnesota, on November 17.