January 25, 2018- Larry Gatlin
Larry Gatlin is best-known for his ’80s hits with the Gatlin Brothers, but prior to forming and leading that family trio, he enjoyed a successful solo career with occasional support from his brothers. Gatlin was born in Seminole, TX and raised on country gospel music. He and his brothers, Steve and Rudy, often sang together in church and on local radio and television. After high school, Gatlin enrolled at the University of Houston, where he joined a gospel group called the Imperials. Through his travels, Gatlin met Dottie West who recorded two of his compositions and introduced Larry to Kris Kristofferson, whom he eventually sang backup for.
Gatlin went solo in 1973 and his debut album, The Pilgrim, produced his first charting country single, “Sweet Becky Walker,” which inched into the Top 40. 1974’s “Delta Dirt” was his first Top 20 hit, taken from the album Rain Rainbow. Gatlin’s brothers first made their presence felt on his third album, Larry Gatlin with Family & Friends, which gave him his first Top Five hit in “Broken Lady.” The song was so successful that Gatlin won a Grammy award for the song in 1977 for Best Country Song. Sometimes accompanied by his brothers, Gatlin scored three more Top Five singles in 1977 (“I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “Love Is Just a Game,” and “Statues Without Hearts”), and in 1978 scored his first number one, “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love.” Gatlin left Monument for Columbia in 1979 and started crediting the Gatlin Brothers Band on all of his recordings, starting with that year’s number one smash “All the Gold in California”. The song became their biggest hit together, taking the No. 1 spot on the Hot Country Songs list and led to Gatlin’s being awarded “Top Male Vocalist of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music that year.
February 22, 2018- Johnny Bush and Johnny Rodriguez
Johnny Bush became an early devotee of the Western Swing music and the honky-tonk sounds, and was only 17 when he moved to San Antonio to pursue his passion. Johnny was a natural performer with a soulful sense of time and meter, a unique gift that led him to the drums and a series of gigs on the dancehall circuit with several groups, but when he joined Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys in 1963, along with a brash young kid named Willie Nelson, Bush became the timepiece for the honky-tonk dream team. His association with Price led Johnny to Nashville where he soon landed a deal singing demos for a song publisher. He kept his finger on the rhythm of the road by playing in Willie Nelson’s group, the Record Men, which in turn led to Johnny’s first single recording, Sound of a Heartache. A series of regional hits followed including You Gave Me a Mountain and I’ll Be There. In 1972, he signed on with RCA Records and his hit single, Whiskey River, was climbing the charts. He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003 and continues to influence and mentor Texas musicians today.
Johnny Rodriguez is the first famous Latin American country music singer. He first arrived in Nashville at the age of 21 with nothing more than a guitar in hand and $14 in his pocket. His first single, “Pass Me By” went to No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs list. Rodriguez was voted ACM’s Most Promising Vocalist in 1972 and was later nominated for CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year. His No. 1 hits include “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me”, “Ridin’ My Thumb to Mexico”, “I Just Can’t Get Her Out of My Mind”, and “Love Put a Song in My Heart”. Rodriguez has released 26 albums, 45 charted singles, and had six No. 1 hits on the country charts in the course of his career. He has been honored by three US presidents, was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame (2007), and received the Institute of Hispanic Culture Pioneer Award (2010).
April 26, 2018- Barbara Fairchild, Roy Morris, Tony Booth, Darrell McCall and Mona McCall
Barbara Fairchild started her career at a young age singing country music and cut her first single at the age of 15. After high school, she followed her dream to Nashville. 1973 was the breakthrough year for her as she released the biggest hit of her career “Teddy Bear Song”. It hit number 1 on the country charts and reached number 32 on the pop charts and was nominated for a Grammy. Barbara’s vibrant personality, her love for humor and storytelling along with her extraordinary talent for singing country and gospel music make her one of the finest entertainers you will see. Barbara performs with her very talented husband, Roy Morris. They are really in love, and it shows. In the tradition of other husband and wife teams that brought laughter to millions, Barbara and Roy have a natural flare for comedy that is delightful to experience. They are such an important part of the Branson Entertainment Community.
Tony Booth gained fame by working for Buck Owens as a front man and bass player. He was voted Most Promising Male Artists by the Academy of Country Music in 1972 along with being part of three consecutive ACM Band of the Year Awards. He branched out on his own with major hits including “Cinderella” “Keys In The Mailbox” “Close Up The Honkytonks” and “Lonesome 7-7203.” After a twenty year absence, he signed with Heart of Texas Records. His latest project is titled “The Other Side of Love.” He was awarded the Male Vocalist of the Year award by the Academy of Western Artists in 2011.
Darrell McCall is a legendary Texas dance hall entertainer with many hits to his credit including “Dreams of A Dreamer” “It’s The Water” “There’s Still A Lot of Love In San Antone” and his duet with Willie Nelson on “Lily Dale.” He started in the business as a bass player and harmony singer for some of the greats in the industry including Ray Price, Faron Young and Carl Smith. During that time, McCall took lessons while working stages all over the world with these industry icons. During the last few years, he has been recording for Heart of Texas Records with three very successful albums to his credit including “Old Memories And Wine” “Keeping With Tradition” and his latest “Country From The Heart.” Canadian born, Mona McCall began working as a drummer for various entertainers that toured Canada. Mona recorded some singles while up north under the name of Mona Vary. She was hired by Audrey Williams as part of her organization in the 1960s. After marrying Darrell McCall, she stayed home and raised their two children. She has recently recorded her first album “Memories Love A Melody” on the Heart of Texas Record label and is a featured part of the Darrell McCall show.