An Evening with Larry, Steve and Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers

Saturday, Nov 9, 2024
at 7:00pm
  On Sale to Members Only

A lifetime. That is how long the Gatlin Brothers have been dazzling audiences. For more than 69 years, the Grammy-winning Gatlins have entertained audiences in venues and stages all over the world, from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall. They have performed at the White House, Camp David, Air Force One, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and Disney World. They have seven Number One singles, 32 Top 40 records, and five BMI “Million-Air” Awards.

The Gatlin Brothers began their career in 1955 in Abilene, Texas, when Larry was 7, Steve was 4, and Rudy was 2. They grew up singing gospel music and listened to James Blackwood and the Blackwood Brothers, Hovie Lister, and the Statesmen Quartet. As children, the brothers would sing for anyone who would listen. Soon they were singing from coast to coast and appeared at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964. They recorded four gospel records early in their careers and then in 1966, Larry went to the University of Houston, where he studied English and law.

In 1971, Larry Gatlin auditioned for The Imperials, Elvis’ backup group. He didn’t get the job, but he met Dottie West, who was opening for Jimmy Dean, later one of Larry Gatlin’s closest friends. West thought Gatlin looked like Nashville songwriter Mickey Newbury and told the young singer that since he looked so much like Newbury, he should be able to write great songs. Larry Gatlin returned to Houston, wrote eight songs, and sent them to West. She sent him a plane ticket to Nashville.

Through Dottie West, Gatlin met Kris Kristofferson who championed his talents as a singer and writer and introduced Gatlin to Fred Foster at Monumental Records. A contract followed and Gatlin’s first album, The Pilgrim, was released that year with liner notes by Johnny Cash. Larry went on to write for a “Who’s Who” of country music and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame.

While Larry began performing and writing, Steve and Rudy were at Texas Tech, but by 1975, they, too, moved to Nashville and became the Gatlin Brothers. The Gatlins still perform some 40-road concert dates a year as well as 30 performances at the Grand Ole Opry. They’re also recording some new music.

“We are blessed that fans still love our music and attend our shows,” Steve said. “We hope to continue as long as that’s the case.”

Seventy-five years is called the Diamond Jubilee. Stay tuned.