Photo courtesy of Absolute Publicity.
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (from left: Steve, Larry and Rudy) are scheduled to perform two shows on May 7 at the Hoover Library Theatre.
Matina Johnson was thrilled last year when she was able to book Larry Gatlin to perform at the Hoover Library Theatre this May, but people who bought tickets to the two shows are getting a bonus.
Both of Gatlin’s brothers, Rudy and Steve, have decided to join him for the May 7 shows, meaning it will actually be Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers instead of the “Larry Gatlin trio,” which would have involved two other country and gospel musicians.
Johnson, the fine arts director for the Hoover Public Library, said she was elated when she got the news about the change in March.
“It’ll be a wonderful surprise for those people who already were absolutely very excited about seeing the Larry Gatlin trio,” she said.
Tickets for the shows sold out within a week of going on sale in August, Johnson said.
“That was one of the most popular ones, if not the most popular one” of the 2015-16 Library Theatre season, she said. “That was a hit from the get-go … Country music is something that has been very popular with our crowds.”
The Gatlin brothers have been entertaining for more than 60 years, starting in 1955 when Larry was 6, Steve was 4 and Rudy was 2. They sang gospel music across the country as kids, including at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.
Larry went to college, then started a solo career, but his brothers soon joined in the summer of 1976 to form Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. They catapulted to the top of the charts, scored a Grammy with “Broken Lady” and had lots of other No. 1 songs such as “All the Gold in California,” Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer To You),” “I Don’t Wanna Cry” and “Night Time Magic.”
They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1976 and toured until 1992. Larry then starred in “The Will Rogers Follies” on Broadway, while Rudy starred in “Oklahoma” in Branson, Missouri, and Steve built a theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The brothers came back together to perform in Myrtle Beach from 1994 to 1998 but then took another break until early 2002, when they started touring again on a more limited basis.
“It’s the never-ending reunion tour. That’s what we call it,” Rudy Gatlin said in a phone interview from Nashville, where all three brothers now live again.
Steve has been there for a long time, Larry moved back four or five years ago, and Rudy went back to Nashville in September, he said.
The brothers did a Christmas dinner show at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center last November and December and perform regularly at Ryman Auditorium. They still perform across the country together as a trio, but sometimes they do shows separately or with just two of them, Rudy said.
“There’s just all kinds of combinations of the Gatlins,” he said. “We’re not ever going to quit completely, I don’t think, unless we just can’t do it.”
The Gatlin brothers perform in all sorts of venues, from joining Brad Paisley in front of 75,000 people at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in March to the 250-seat Hoover Library Theatre.
Their latest album, “The Gospel According to Gatlin,” was released in November. Rudy said it’s spiritual in nature — with songs about life, God and love — but more edgy than the album of hymns they released a couple of years ago.
While both shows at the Hoover Library Theatre are sold out, Johnson said the theater keeps a waiting list because sometimes tickets are turned back in for various reasons. Check with the box office at 444-7888.
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
- WHERE: Hoover Library Theatre
- WHEN: May 7; 4 & 7:30 p.m.
- TICKETS: Sold out, but waiting list at 444-7888