Asked why he likes to help a good cause, Larry Gatlin quoted from scripture in the “the good book”: “And let us not be weary in well doing.”
Gatlin and both brothers, Steve and Rudy Gatlin – four and two years younger, respectively – will perform at 8 p.m. Monday at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach, in a benefit for the Pardue Family “Children In Need” Fund and The Lighthouse Care Center of Myrtle Beach.
Speaking by phone last week from home near Nashville, Tenn., before sailing on a country music Caribbean cruise from Florida with Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Jo Dee Messina, Ronnie Milsap, Restless Heart, and Kenny Rogers, the eldest Gatlin spoke about his love to lend a hand.
“We’re supposed to get tired doing the right thing,” he said, complimenting Claude Pardue, “a wonderful friend to me … and to the Myrtle Beach community.”
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“We’re very honored and very happy to be coming,” Gatlin said.
Pardue, director of the “Children in Need” foundation, said this third annual concert fundraiser – which Ben Vereen and the Long Bay Symphony headlined last January – said this series “would never have started without Larry.”
Saluting everyone who donates their time and labor to coordinate and carry out this concert, Pardue said the grass-roots charity helps local at-risk youth by providing “joy for the kids” through special outings to such places as movies, amusement parks and bowling.
Ahead of the cruise, a sort of reunion, Gatlin said “I’m going to the shows every night” to see his musical colleagues, and that he hadn’t crossed paths with Loveless and Rogers in a while.
“I get to hear Vince Gill when we do the Grand Ole Opry together,” Gatlin said. “I love to hear every fellow entertainer.”
The Gatlin Brothers have various other concerts this spring in the Starlight Theater in Branson, Mo., and Larry Gatlin will join several Grand Old Opry shows in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
The Gatlins, natives of Abeline, Texas, racked up hits starting in the 1970s such as with “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love,” “All the Gold in California,” “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You)” and She Used to Be Somebody’s Baby.”
Gatlin, who also has written songs recorded by other stars such as Johnny Cash (“The Good Earth”), Elvis Presley (“Help Me”), Ray Price (“You Wouldn’t Know Love”) and Dottie West (“Broken Lady”), said singing or hearing some of those compositions, many from 40 years ago, “it’s kind of surreal.”
Although Gatlin might not remember specifics of, or hopes for, such numbers succeeding by the original artists, he’ll think to himself, “It just hits me: ‘Hey, you really wrote that, and that’s not really bad.’ ”
Seeing fans turn out for occasional Gatlin Brothers concerts, Larry Gatlin said they still love harmonizing with “great brothership,” especially when admirers remark, “Man, you still sound like you did 30 years ago.”
Gatlin doesn’t see country music in different formats, because he said every artist differs, as Roy Acuff sounded different from Roy Clark, and likewise for the Carter Sisters and Statler Brothers. He voiced his appreciation for newer generation singers such as Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and Little Big Town.
“It’s all country,” Gatlin said. “Let’s root for everybody and root for all country music.”