A Few Good Men Get Back To Their Roots
Story by Emily Sutherland
The Oak Ridge Boys, The Gatlin Brothers and The Gaither Vocal Band have traveled the world making music, and they have experienced some pretty incredible things during the past half-century. They have been friends for most of that time. But rare is the opportunity they get to do what they do together!
So at last, after years of talking about it, they finally set a date and gathered at Gaither Studios armed with their favorite songs, busloads of memories and a lifetime of history together. And we caught the whole thing on video and in some photos (Click here to check them out)!
“Dream come true,” was the line that kept coming up as the day unfolded. The GVB’s Todd Suttles, a relative newcomer to this band of brothers, remembers being star struck the first time he met William Lee Golden at a vocal session in Nashville a few years ago. But on the day of this taping, they were singing side-by-side as colleagues and friends.
Duane Allen remembers the day his phone rang and it was Bill Gaither calling to get this taping planned. Duane claims his phone actually smiled when that call came in and, since we have no solid proof it didn’t, the legend stands. We happen to know, however, that no one was smiling more than Bill about this dream come true.
Bill was primed and ready when everyone arrived that day. He brought out records from his collection of early Oaks albums and Gatlin albums, mentioning that he and Gloria had collected every album they ever released. Only problem was… he had never had them autographed. That problem was quickly remedied.
As the groups reminisced their way through Bill’s album collection, the Oaks’ Joe Bonsall recognized the Larry Gatlin album in Bill’s hand. “I loved that album!” he exclaimed, immediately launching into songs he remembered as if he had heard them yesterday.
You can’t fake that kind of camaraderie. Watching it all unfold brings into sharp focus the reason this day was for important to them – and for all of us. For fifty years now, these men have learned from each other, attended each other’s concerts, bought each other’s albums, inspired each other and recorded each other’s songs. They started as fans and grew into lifelong friends. They made each other better.
You see it even more clearly when Joe Bonsall gets serious for a moment and describes what happened inside him while he watched the first Homecoming video on TV in the middle of the night. Hearing those old familiar gospel songs called to something deep inside him. Those moments changed his path and drew him back to gospel music.
Few groups could transition from “Elvira” to “Jesus Loves Me” in the same setting, but that is what makes this gathering so unique. Their goldmine of hits – literally as plentiful as “all the gold in California” – and an their equally plentiful treasury of gospel songs are woven together seamlessly just like their history.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,” goes the verse in Ecclesiastes. Anyone who has tried to navigate life as a musician alone knows this to be especially true. But this gathering reveals what is possible when you find your people and love them well.
Three separate paths, dozens of hits and gospel favorites, all intertwined in a musical celebration that could not be contained to a DVD – it took two. The DVDs release this January 26, and premiere on television networks all over the world that same week. But you can preorder them now at the following link.