Between them, they’ve won 36 Grammys and sold more than 125 million albums. And for one night only, Sting and Vince Gill share the stage on CMT Crossroads. In this interview with CMT Insider host Katie Cook, the two superstars talk about each other’s favorite hits, the classic country star they both admire and their favorite hobbies, which won’t ever overlap.
CMT: I would imagine on a show like this, it’s obviously very exciting to be doing each other’s music, but does it possibly impose a unique challenge? Is it stressful at all?
Sting: No, it’s much easier because we’re sharing a load. It’s not as if we’ve got a lot to do. I just have to be standing next to Vince. (laughs)
Gill: I think that everybody probably perceives that you sing each other’s songs in their entirety, but it’s a lot of trading-off, a lot of harmony stuff, and it makes it that much better when you combine — do everything together.
Vince, you could’ve asked anyone to do this Crossroads with you. Why did you ask Sting?
Sting: He couldn’t get them. (laughs) I was the last one.
Gill: I’d like to take credit for doing the asking, but I can’t. They came to me and said, “Would you do one with Sting?” and I said … “Today.”
And Sting, you obviously said yes, as well.
Sting: Absolutely, I love Vince’s voice and guitar playing, and he’s a pleasure to work with.
Any particular song that you said, “We have to do this one”?
Sting: I have a list of Vince’s songs — the one’s I really wanted to do. … “Whenever You Come Around,” it’s such a beautiful song, and “These Days.”… I could go on, spend the whole night, but I had to choose four.
It must’ve been hard to choose. You guys have so many hits between you. What songs of Sting, or perhaps the Police, did you really want to do?
Gill: Well, there were several I was drawn to. … I always loved “The Shape of My Heart” from that movie, The Professional — that hypnotic kind of melody and very infectious. “Fields of Gold” has always been about my favorite thing he’s ever done, and Eva Cassidy did a version of that. That kind of reenergized my realization of what a great song it is. … And I always liked “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” because it goes way up high. I like another guy that can go way up high. (laughs)
Sting, you seem like an artist who loves all kinds of music. I’m wondering what your impression of country music has been through the years.
Sting: Oh, I have a deep respect and love of country music from being a little guy. I listened to BBC Radio, and they played a lot of country music — Hank Williams, particularly. I loved it. An artist who’s huge in England, but not much here, was Jim Reeves. Do you know Jim Reeves?
Gill: Very well, I have all of his records. That was my dad’s favorite.
Sting: So, yeah, I’m steeped in it. It informs my music at a deep level. Also, we talked about it today. There’s a lot of connection between the music of the American South and the music of England, the folk music of Britain, Ireland, Scotland. So you hear connections.
However, your pastimes seem like they might be a little different. Vince, we can always find you on the golf course. Sting, I’m assuming looking at you you’re still dedicated to yoga.
Sting: I don’t look good in those golf trousers, man. You know, I’ve tried.
Vince, were you doing any downward-dog poses before rehearsals today?
Gill: Oh, no, I don’t do yoga. … Yogurt maybe. (laughs)
Sting: We could trade. I’ll do a week of golf, and he could do a week of yoga.
Gill: I have a friend who’s English, and he just scoffs at golf all the time. He says, “Golf? Isn’t that what you do between cricket and death?” (laughs)Watch Sting and Vince Gill’s performance of “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” from CMT Crossroads.