Vince Gill was on one of the country stars on hand for Mel Tillis’s memorial service in Clarksville, Tennessee, on Nov. 27. Though cameras weren’t allowed inside, Vince gave an idea of what the service was like in this interview with Nashville TV station WTVF.
He says, “It was sweet. Everybody that got up … his daughter Carrie sang, [daughter] Pam spoke, and great preachers, great friends. You get a room full of people that all love somebody, and that’s a good way to spend some time.”
In remembering Mel’s legacy, Vince spoke of his fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member’s status as “one of the best songwriters that ever came to Nashville.” On top of his own hits, Mel wrote classic songs for everyone from Ricky Skaggs and Webb Pierce to Bobby Bare and Kenny Rogers.
Vince says, “I’m working on a new record right now with a woman named Wendy Moten, and we cut one of Mel’s songs. So, everybody still loves him and always will. They’re great songs.”
Beyond his musical legacy, Vince will always remember Mel for his sense of humor and his friendship.
“That’s what I’ll always take with me, is how much fun we had together,” Vince says. “I have a wicked sense of humor like he did, and we cut up and we told stories. I wouldn’t take anything for that. Just the fact that we got to share a couple of great stories at the Ryman [Auditorium] and tease each other a little bit, made for a great friend.”
Mel Tillis will be honored with a public memorial in Nashville in January. Details on that service will be announced soon. A previous memorial service was held on Nov. 25 near Mel’s home in Florida.