Vince Gill has released a powerfully stunning new song about the lasting damage of sexual abuse. In "Forever Changed," Gill lambasts those who perpetrate sexual abuse, warning them that "God was watching, and he knows your name."

The slow, mournful ballad is framed by piano and acoustic guitar. Gill delivers the lyrics in his familiar soaring tenor, but the lyrics are tinged with an uncharacteristic anger from the first as he begins the song, "You put your hands where they don't belong / And now her innocence is dead and gone / She feels dirty / She feels ashamed / Because of you she's forever changed."

Gill wrote the song years ago, inspired by an incident that took place in seventh grade, when a gym teacher attempted to sexually abuse him. He was able to escape that situation, and he was inspired to perform the song publicly in 2018, when the #MeToo movement was exposing how deep-seated a problem sexual abuse really is.

Vince Gill Shares the Story of "Forever Changed"

“We’re living in a time right now when finally people are having the courage to speak out about being abused, and I think that is beyond healthy and beyond beautiful — to see people finally have a voice for being wronged,” Gill said when he performed the song at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville in 2018. "Maybe what’s been going on has given me a little bit of courage to speak out, too.”

"Forever Changed" is one of the songs that will appear on Gill's upcoming new album, Okie, which is set for release on Aug. 23. Gill borrowed the title from a derogatory term that was used to disparage those who were forced to migrate from Gill's home state of Oklahoma to the West Coast during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Gill wants to re-define the word with the new album, which explores some darker and more serious themes than his previous work. According to a press release, Okie "embraces his roots and explores some of the most important issues of our time."

Okie is currently available for pre-order, including special packages that come with exclusive content.

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