A Soul Connection
For all their differences, Gill and Grant are the same philosophically — they make it a priority to treat people with respect and kindness. That's not always easy. Gill has a famous temper; Grant, a stubborn streak." They have an agreement that any time things get heated, they'll pause and take a moment to cool down, because words cannot be taken back," says Grant's sister Carol Grant Nuismer. And though they work in the same field, they refuse to compete, appreciating each other's gifts. Grant calls her singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist husband "a freak of nature." And Gill says of his wife: "It never fails to amaze me how captivating the sound of her voice is." But it's Grant who gives voice to a deeper reason their union has lasted — and why it even began: "We both wanted it so bad."
When the two singers first worked together in late 1993, their lives seemed settled. Grant, a mother of three, was married to gospel singer Gary Chapman. Gill was the husband of Janis Oliver (of the singing duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo), with whom he had a daughter. But neither marriage was especially joyful, and the Chapmans' union, as Grant describes it, "had been rocky from the get-go. I'd been holding steady for 15 years in something that was not easy to hold steady."
Grant's pain was evident to her sister Nuismer: "Sometimes when people try to stay in [a marriage] with unresolved issues, they begin to shut down. It's like you see them dying."
Around the holidays of that year, Grant and Gill played three events together in one night. "I knew from the tips of my toes that he was unlike anybody I had ever met," Grant remembers, "and that I related to him on such a cellular level. I was just so overwhelmed by him as a person that I finally came up behind him and wrapped my arms around him and said, 'I've needed to do this all night.' "
The feeling was mutual, but Gill held on to his decorum. "He went, 'Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!' " Grant recalls. "It was weird. It was all caught on film, too." Not long after, Grant invited him to record a duet, "House of Love," that friends and critics alike agreed was magical.