Gatlin Brothers heading north for Christmas show

Tyler Clarke
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The Gatlin Brothers are performing as part of the Canadian Tire Series at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre on Sunday, Dec. 15 -- a show with tickets still available at the box office. 

Throwing his feet up on his office desk, Rudy Gatlin felt a cool breeze blow over him through an open window on Thursday morning.

“That’s refreshing,” he said, noting that at a temperature hovering a touch above freezing it was a particularly chilly day in Texas.

But, he recognizes that the Texas breeze has nothing on Saskatchewan, where he’ll be performing with his brothers Larry and Steve in a couple weeks.

“That’s going to be real refreshing,” he said with a chuckle.

The Daily Herald caught up with Gatlin over the phone this week to promote The Gatlin Brothers’ Dec. 15 performance at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre.

The trio of brothers have been performing for about 59 years, he said, adding that it’s difficult to imagine any of them doing anything else.

“I don’t know anything else -- and I’m trying to think of something else -- that I would enjoy doing every day,” he said. “We are blessed.

“When you see the reaction that audience -- Whew!”

A storied career in gospel music saw Larry write songs for Kris Kristofferson, the brothers inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and record the No. 1 hit “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love” in 1977. More than a dozen top-40 singles followed over the subsequent decades, during which the trip received a plethora of awards.

Larry was an accomplished solo act in his own right and is best remembered for his 1979 hit "All The Gold in California."

The brothers stopped touring in the early ’90s – a decade-long break that ended with the start of “The Gatlin Brothers Never Ending Reunion Tour,” which remains ongoing.

Performing is “what we do,” Gatlin explained.

“We’ll kick back again in another couple years, but well be singing together off and on, I’m sure, for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Having toured off an on for almost 60 years, Gatlin said that the trio has gone through a lot, including five throat surgeries – three for Larry and two for himself.

“In 59 years, you’re doing something like we do, you’re probably going to have problems, and we probably didn’t take care of it as well as we should have, and we were young -- all the travelling and singing,” he said.

We’ll kick back again in another couple years, but well be singing together off and on, I’m sure, for the rest of our lives. Rudy Gatlin

“It’s a very delicate instrument the vocal chords, and they needed some repair, but we’re good, now.”

Known for their harmonies, Gatlin said that fans need not worry about the brothers’ vocal chords holding out.

Their vocal chords are “good, now,” he said, adding that they’ve learned the required techniques to maintain their prized instruments.

On top of that, their tour schedule has slowed down over the past decade, to between 100 and 120 shows per year versus the more than 200 they performed in the 16 years leading up to their 1992 decade-long break.

Winding through the United States over the next couple of weeks, the trio will kick off a five-day stint in the Canadian Prairies with a show at Prince Albert’s E. A. Rawlinson Centre on Dec. 15.

“We’ve been coming up there for years,” Gatlin said. “We’ve got a little following up there after doing many years of TV work years ago on the old Tommy Hunter Show, and doing festivals and some outdoor concerts, and then working some casinos up there.

“We love coming up there, and would love to come up there about once a year, whether it’s the summer or the winter. Whether it’s cold, what the heck -- you don’t go out in it too long, you bundle up and we’ll be fine!”

Their Dec. 15 performance, which takes place at 7:30 p.m., will include all the Gatlin Brothers songs fans have come to know, as well as a selection of Christmas classics.

Tickets are still available at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre box office for $64.05. The box office can be contacted at 765-1270 or 1-866-700-ARTS.

Organizations: Gatlin Brothers, E. A. Rawlinson Centre, Daily Herald Grand Ole Opry The Gold Canadian Prairies Prince Albert

Geographic location: California, Texas, Saskatchewan United States

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