December 14, 2011 12:00 PM

Vince Gill RIDES AGAIN

WITH A NEW CD (HIS FIRST IN FIVE YEARS!), THE HALL OF FAMER SAYS HE’S JUST HEATING UP

Q&A

GUITAR SLINGER IS YOUR FIRST ALBUM IN FIVE YEARS. WHAT TOOK SO LONG?

I had to practice.

UM, YOU WERE INDUCTED INTO THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME. CLEARLY, YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH PRACTICE.

Well, this record has really been done for about a year, but I’m forever afraid to let something go. I keep revisiting things; I just want to fix that part right here, or re-sing that song.

HOW COOL IS IT BEING A MEMBER OF THE HALL OF FAME?

I feel like I’ve got to go prove them right. I want it to really feel earned.

YOU DON’T THINK IT’S ALREADY BEEN EARNED?

I guess it has, but it’s had the reverse effect on me. The thought of retiring scares the crap out of me. I wouldn’t want to live if I wasn’t playing music, so I’d rather continue to earn it than go play golf every day.

ARE YOU GETTING BETTER WITH AGE?

My ears tell me I am.

WILL WE HAVE TO WAIT FIVE YEARS FOR ANOTHER ALBUM?

No. I built a studio in my home, and I feel completely energized. I think the next 20 years will bring a whole lot more music than the last 20. Plus, mortality is rearing its ugly head. I want to create my biggest body of work while I still have my voice.

Nashville Music Garden’s

CHARITY AUCTION

FANS CAN TAKE HOME A PIECE OF COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY-AND HELP KEEP NASHVILLE BEAUTIFUL

Bid on Kenny’s Hat!

Kenny’s Straw Hat

Chesney’s signature topper is autographed by the singer.

LeAnn’s Dress

Rimes wore this while on the 2010 CMA Christmas special.

Carrie’s Guitar

Underwood autographed and donated a Copley acoustic guitar.

Brooks & Dunn’s CMA Envelope

They took home their 14th duo award at the 2006 show and signed the envelope!

Little Jimmy’s Boots

Dickens wore these autographed boots onstage at the Opry.

Set your DVR!

COUNTRY ON TV

CMA Country Christmas-Thurs., Dec. 1, 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles hosts as she and other stars celebrate the holidays.

American Country Awards-Mon., Dec. 5, 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The awards show, in its second year, will be hosted by Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth, with performances by Pistol Annies and others.

CMT Artists of the Year-Tues., Dec. 13, 9 p.m. ET on CMT. This year’s honors go out to Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley.

NEW BOOKS ON COUNTRY ICONS

A trifecta of new biographies offer a glimpse into the lives of some of Nashville’s most influential artists.

House of Cash

Part memoir, part scrapbook, part keepsake, John Carter Cash’s take on his famous father is chock full of lyrics, unpublished photos and notes, giving a colorful peek into the life of the Man in Black.

Family Tradition

Susan Masino’s multi-generational biography delves into the dynasty sired by “Hillbilly Shakespeare” Hank Williams Sr., from its humble start in tiny Mount Olive, Ala., to its lasting effect on the musical landscape.

The Three of Us

Georgette Jones, the daughter of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, was seen as a princess. Yet life with these all-too-human musical greats was no fairy tale. Jones reveals how she came to terms with her legacy.

Randy Houser’s

WEDDING DAY!

THE SINGER WEDS JESSA LEE YANTZ IN A SUNSET CEREMONY IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

It was a country wedding-but in the Caribbean. In an intimate ceremony at the Sanctuary Cap Cana resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Sept. 2, Randy Houser, 34, married his girlfriend of about a year, singer-songwriter Jessa Lee Yantz, 29.

“We had our own little private island just off the resort, and it was perfect,” says Houser. “It was so cool to take off somewhere really beautiful with just a tight-knit group of family and friends,” he says of exchanging ‘I dos’ in front of 28 guests.

“We wrote our own vows, and I felt like the luckiest man in the world when Jessa was saying hers, telling me all the little things I meant to her. It melted me,” says Houser. “It’s like I’m this big old tough country boy, and she’s my sweet little princess.”

Martie Maguire’s

TEXAS ESTATE

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS! THE DIXIE CHICK PUTS HER NINE-BEDROOM AUSTIN COMPOUND ON THE MARKET

A LOOK INSIDE The seven-acre property in a gated community includes a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath main house with gourmet kitchen and playroom, all of which have been extensively renovated by Maguire. The property, offered by Michele Turnquist of Turnquist Properties, also includes three guest houses, a dance studio and a jogging trail.

PASSAGES

BABY

Looks like “Homeboy” singer Eric Church, 34, will be spending some quality time changing diapers at home. He and wife Katherine, 32, welcomed baby Boone McCoy on Oct. 3 in Nashville. Church said that he is “very thankful and blessed to have a healthy and happy boy.”

It’s son No. 2 for John Rich, 37. His wife, Joan, 41, had Colt Daniel on Sept. 29, with the singer calling out on Twitter, “He’s a real ‘Son of a Gun!’ VERY Proud!”

AWARD

Grammy and Emmy award winner Steve Martin, 66, has another trophy for his mantel. He and the Steep Canyon Rangers clinched the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award on Sept. 29. The banjo-picking Hollywood funnyman joked after getting the award, “I want to thank all the other nominees… for losing.”

GOOD WORKS

Dierks Bentley, 37, revved up his Harley on Oct. 16 and led his sixth annual Miles & Music for Kids Bike Ride. This year’s event included such riders as Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and raised more than $200,000 for Nashville’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

AUTHOR!

Jimmy Wayne, 39, knows a thing or two about homelessness. He lived on the streets and in foster care as a teen. The singer (inset), who described his early struggles in his song “Paper Angels,” has now published his first novel, also called Paper Angels, a Christmas fable. The book, written with Christian author Travis Thrasher, tells the story of a 15-year-old and the stranger who gives him and his mom a wonderful Christmas.

DIED

Gwen Yearwood, the mother of singer Trisha, 47, died Oct. 1 in Tifton, Ga., at age 73 after a long battle with cancer. Gwen coauthored two popular cookbooks with daughters Trisha and Beth. • Longtime Charlie Daniels’s keyboardist and vocalist Joel “Taz” DiGregorio, cowriter of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” died Oct. 12 from injuries he sustained in a car accident in Cheatham County, Tenn. He was 67. “I am in shock now,” Daniels said in a statement. “We’re going to miss you, buddy.” • First Lady of Bluegrass Wilma Lee Cooper, who with her husband, Stoney Cooper, had such hits as “Cheated Too,” died on Sept. 13 in Sweetwater, Tenn., at age 90.

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