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Vince Gill celebrates his 3-year anniversary with wife Amy Grant and reveals why he's feeling 'like my old self again'

Three years into a blissful marriage, a comfortably settled Vince Gill finally puts tough times behind him and finds peace, happiness and renewal.

Vince Gill is smiling. "Things feel very peaceful right now," he says with a shy grin. "This is just the sweetest, kindest stretch of life."

Turning 46, Vince has the quiet, confident look of a man at peace with himself. At long last, after turbulence in his personal life, he has everything he could want -- a loving family, his first new album in three years and a tour that he's doing his way.

Of course, his greatest joy is the latest addition to the Gill family, daughter corrina, who just turned 2 years old.

"Corrina is a blast!" Vince exclaims. "And she's smart as a whip. She can already sing her ABCs and can string some words together."

And this month he marked a happy milestone -- it was three years ago, on March 10, 2000, that he and Amy Grant tied the knot in a quiet ceremony on a ranch outside Nashville, then celebrated with family and friends at Amy's house.

Also boosting his spirits is a new CD, Next Big Thing, which hit the stores -- and the Top 5 -- last month. Vince's wide-ranging musical influences, from country and bluegrass to R&B are evident throughout the album's 17-tracks -- including the title cut, already a Top 20 hit. Among other musical highlights, the album marks a return to the country-blue, melancholy sounds of his '90s hits "Never Knew Lonely," "Tryin' To Get Over You," "Pretty Little Adriana," "Worlds Apart" and "When I Call Your Name."

That's a bit of a departure from his last CD, Let's Make Sure We Kiss Goodbye. Inspired by his then-recent marriage to Amy, Goodbye laid on the love a bit too thick and mushy for many listeners; critics complained that they liked Vince better when he had some lonesome in his voice.

"I like the blue side of music as much as anyone else," Vince admits, "but I wasn't feeling that way when I made that record."

But now he feels like he's got his musical mojo back in place. "This new record has let me get my imagination back," he says. "The songs are about all sorts of things -- they are kind of all over the map."

Indeed, "Whippoorwill River" tenderly celebrates the father-son bond, and the high-kicking "Old Time Fiddle" salutes Cajun music, while "We Had It All" is a Latin-flavored lament for lost love. Song for song, Next Big Thing is perhaps Vince's most wide-ranging album.

Read more about Vince Gill in the current 4/01/03 "Newsstand Issue" on sale now!