Buttermilk John

Album: Guitar Slinger (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by Gill in tribute to John Hughey, his steel guitar player who played on his records for nearly 20 years. It also honors John's wife, Jean, with whom he had a wonderful relationship. Gill recalled: "They were the kind of couple you aspired to be like. They always went everywhere together. If John had to run to Wal-Mart, Jean went with him. They were never apart. A few years before he passed, he had retired and didn't want to travel anymore. The year that he died, I talked him into coming out on the road one weekend to fill in for someone and he brought Jean. They just sat on the couch everywhere we went, holding hands."
  • Gill explained the song title: "His nickname was Buttermilk John because he loved buttermilk and cornbread. It's about our relationship and their relationship. He was a father figure to me. This is the first record I made without him, and I think it's one reason why I took so long to make another record. I knew I was going to make it without him, and it was going to be hard."
  • Paul Franklin, who plays with Gill on the road, performs the three-minute fade of steel guitar. The pair are also part of the Western swing ensemble, The Time Jumpers, and Gill said: "The record has all of the Time Jumpers playing on it and most all of my band playing. All of the people that knew John - so it's a big cast. This is our send-off to him." (Source of quotes Roughstock)

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