Vince Gill declines offer to host country music awards this year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- After hosting the annual Country Music Association awards for a dozen years, Vince Gill is taking a break.
"I've always been one to trust my gut, and my gut tells me it is time for a change for everyone," he said this week. "In the future, I will be more than willing to accept that role again, but right now it feels like I need a little break."
CMA Executive Director Ed Benson called Gill, who holds the record for career CMA awards with 18, an "invaluable ambassador" for the show.
"His unique style and quick wit have always eased the pressure-packed environment of live network television for the other artists and audience as well," Benson said. "The CMA is very disappointed that he won't be our host in 2004, but we certainly respect his decision."
Gill, 46, has been a popular host of the CMA awards and other industry events. He is recognized for his sometimes offbeat humor. During a recent birthday celebration for banjo great Earl Scruggs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Gill joked from the podium that with so much talent on hand, anything recorded on Music Row that day probably wouldn't be very good.
The singer says he's not calling it quits for the CMA show, just taking time off.
"In the words of the new California governor," Gill said, "I'll be back."
A CMA spokesman said that no replacement has been named yet for Gill.