Gatlin Brothers bring holidays home
The sweet sounds of both a country Christmas and family harmony will warm the holidays when former Odessans Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers perform at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.
The Gatlin Brothers have shared their award-winning harmonies from dusty stages to White House performances and from Broadway Shows to Grammy Awards during a career that has lasted for more than six decades.
Here in Odessa they were known for their outstanding vocals as junior high and high school students as well as their athletic prowess — notabley at Odessa High School.
Their string of hits includes: “All The Gold In California,” “Houston (Means That I’m One Day Closer To You),” “Night Time Magic,” “Statues Without Hearts,” “The Lady Takes The Cowboy Every Time” and others.
The Country & Christmas show features the signature harmonies on Christmas favorites.
Brothers Larry, Steve and Rudy have been in the family business most of their lives. Rudy Gatlin, in a telephone interview from Nashville, said he had just been in Odessa in October with his father for the Permian Basin International Oil Show.
He said he is always drawn back to Odessa to see old friends, football and for bird hunting trips.
He said he looks forward to bringing the Country & Christmas show to West Texas and knows the audience is likely to be full of both fans and friends.
“The holidays are just all about family and friends and the birth of the Christ child and the music is incredible and we enjoy singing those wonderful songs and carols,” he said.
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers started in Abilene in 1955, when Larry was 6, Steve was 4, and Rudy was 2. The brothers grew up singing gospel music after listening to James Blackwood and the Blackwood brothers, Hovie Lister, the Statesman Quartet and many others. The brothers would sing anywhere and everywhere people would listen. As children their music took them coast-to-coast, even singing at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. They also recorded four Gospel records.
Larry Gatlin would eventually release his first album, The Pilgrim. Steve and Rudy Gatlin were still in college at Texas Tech University and moved to Nashville in 1975 to sing backup with Tammy Wynette. The two of them joined their brother in the summer of 1976 to form Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers.
By 1976, the Gatlin Brothers were in the fast lane, thanks to the chart-topping success of the Grammy Award-winning “Broken Lady.” The hits continued throughout the rest of the decade, including their signature song, “All the Gold in California,” soon to be followed by “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You).”
The number one hits continued throughout the next decade with “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love,” “Statues Without Hearts,” “Love is Just a Game,” and “Night Time Magic.” In addition to being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1976, the trio was nominated for awards by the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and the Music City News Awards, among others. “We won some of ’em too,” Larry said.
The brothers continued to tour through out the 80s. In 1992, they decided to take some time away from the road. That year they embarked on their “Adios Tour” and released an album of the same title. Upon completion of the tour, Larry would go on to Broadway to star in the hit musical, “The Will Rogers Follies,” as Steve built a theater in Myrtle Beach, SC and Rudy starred in a production of “Oklahoma” in Branson. In early 2002, the brothers decided to tour on a limited basis, recorded a new album, “Pilgrimage,” in 2008 and are still performing 40-50 dates a year.
“We have been very blessed and grateful for the many fans who have stayed with us over the years,” Steve Gatlin said. “You have impacted our lives more than you can possibly imagine.”