“We’re not calling it a farewell or a final tour. We’re calling it the ‘60th Anniversary Celebration.’ By no means are we retiring, but after this tour, we are going to slow down a little bit. The promoters are going to have to want us about three times more than they want us right now,” Larry Gatlin said, laughingly.
In a world where The Who is celebrating its 50th anniversary year and The Rolling Stones recently wrapped up its 50th anniversary tour, it takes a little perspective to appreciate how long the Gatlins have been making music. Of course, the brothers had the advantage of performing for audiences as children when Larry Gatlin was 6 years old, Steve Gatlin was 4 and Rudy Gatlin was 2.
In 1955 Elvis Presley had yet to make his first recording for RCA, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” was still three years into the future and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” wouldn’t chart until 1957. Clearly, the music world has changed a bit since The Gatlin Brothers started performing.
The brothers weren’t always a show biz entity, and Larry Gatlin even studied law at the University of Houston. Even though he didn’t pass a 1971 audition for a slot in Presley’s backup group, the Imperials, he did meet Dottie West, who encouraged him to write songs. He eventually sent the singer eight of his tunes, and she answered back with an airline ticket to Nashville.
Kris Kristofferson introduced him to Monument Records’ Fred Foster who signed him to the label. Johnny Cash wrote the liner notes for Larry Gatlin’s first album, The Pilgrim. Brothers Steve and Rudy moved to Nashville in 1975 and the trio started their hit-making career.
In addition to the tour, the group will release a new Gospel album on Curb, appropriately titled Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers 60th Anniversary Celebration.
“We were going to call the album, The Gospel According To Gatlin because some of the new songs are a little edgy, a little bit different,” Larry Gatlin said. “Then we realized it was our 60th anniversary, so we went with that as the title.
“Steve and Rudy and I didn’t get where we are by playing it safe. We have always pushed the envelope, we have always crossed borders others were afraid to cross and we’re not going to stop now … and that is the Gospel According To Gatlin.”
Here are the dates:
March 10-11 – Surprise, Ariz., Happy Trails Resort
March 13 – Bremen, Ga., Mill Town Music Hall
March 14 – Weirsdale, Fla., Orange Blossom Opry
April 11 – Rainbow City, Ala., Alabama Chocolate Festival
April 24 – Springfield, Ohio, Clark St. Perf. Center
May 16 – Prestonburg, Ky., Mountain Arts Center
May 23 – Watseka, Ill, Watseka Theatre
May 28 – Farmers Branch, Texas, Independent Bankers Bank
Aug. 8 – Potosi, Mo., Washington County Fair
Aug. 22 – Greeneville, Tenn., Niswonger Performing Arts Center
Aug. 29 – Dumas, Texas, Window On The Plains Museum
Sept. 5 – Millersport, Ohio, Sweet Corn Festival
Sept. 11-12 – Gstaad, Switzerland, Gstaad Festival
Sept. 19 – Denton, N.C., Daily & Vincent Festival
Sept. 20 – Alexandria, Va., The Birchmere
Sept. 26 – Robinson, Ill., Lincoln Trail College
Oct. 16-17 – Branson, Mo., The Starlite Theatre
Oct. 23-25 – Las Vegas, Nev., South Point Hotel & Casino
Nov. 5-8 – Branson, Mo., The Starlite Theatre
Nov. 14 – Highland Springs, Va., Henrico Theatre
Some shows are already on sale. Visit GatlinBrothers.com for more information.