Over 50 years ago, Larry, Steve, and Rudy Gatlin started singing in their little hometown of Abilene, Texas, and from there went on to make music history. Over the course of a four-decade career that has taken the Gatlin Brothers from dusty Texas stages to White House performances, from Broadway to Grammy Awards to the top of the country charts, there has been one unifying element, music. Larry, Steve, and Rudy love to sing together. Raised on Gospel music, the brothers first began entertaining audiences in churches and then with guest appearances on the Slim Willet radio and TV shows in Abilene, Texas when they were 2, 4, and 6 years old.
Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the Gatlin Brothers lit up major marquees and packed concert halls across America. Then, in 1992, the brothers made a decision to stop touring. They ended with “The Adios Tour” along with an accompanying album release of the same name, and it gave the boys a chance to say goodbye to their fans. Explains Larry, “We just thought our time in the spotlight was probably over. We had a great run and are thankful for it. We felt it was someone else’s turn in the spot light.”
According to Larry, a promoter in Dover, Delaware “made us an offer we couldn’t understand...so we took it! Since then a popular ground swell, maybe not a large popular ground swell, but a ground swell nonetheless, has arisen that has persuaded us to do some selected dates that we are calling ‘The Gatlin Brothers Never Ending Reunion Tour.”
Neil Diamond has charted an unheard-of 38 songs in the “Top 40” in his years of composing, recording and touring. Songs such as: Song Sung Blue, Cherry Cherry, Thank the Lord for the Nightime, Love on the Rocks, Kentucky Women and on and on… Songs for Monkees (I’m a Believer), cartoon birds (Jonathon Livingston Seagull) and Grammy winning soundtrack of his own movie (The Jazz Singer). Everything about him is legendary. He is so much a central figure in the fabric of American popular music that millions can remember and recite his songs at the mention of his name. When is the last time you went to a large sporting event and DIDN’T hear Sweet Caroline? Diamond, in April of this year, has begun his world-wide “50th Anniversary Tour” at a young 76 years-old. He is not coming to Billings this tour but his songs are…
David Oltrogge has been a “working” singer/musican/composer for many years here in Southern Montana, and presently serves as a director of worship arts and music at Billings 1st United Methodist Church. Gathering these varied tribute shows is his mission to remind people of these influential songs and artists and, even more importantly, to show young people the music of their parents and grandparents . Diamonds in the Rough found it’s genesis as the people who make the Summer Concert Series happen implored ”Neil Diamond next !!” so here we are- ready to celebrate many of these songs and bring them to the Mission Ridge Pavilion. A band of fine musicians sets the stage for these “jewels” and Trevor Krieger brings his varied talents as musical director for this large ensemble (with a “unique” opportunity to perform with his wife Alyssa-one of singers)… Diamonds in the Rough- come remember and sing along with us!
Blending elements of American folk music, jazz fusion, soul, rock, hip-hop, and neo-mysticism, Parker Brown and his band bring listeners an experience equal parts groove, exuberance, and contemplation. These guys have played together in jazz combos, acoustic sessions, and rock bands for years, and this aged integration becomes apparent in the contagious energy of their shows; you may jump for joy and you also might cry as you partake in the dappled sounds of Brown and his buddies.
In 1997, a small group of physicians began gathering regularly to play music and relax away from the pressures of their vocation. Bob Snider, Mac McClave, and Doug Ezell would play and sing old folk tunes and rock standards. It was pretty ragged at first. After a while, though, they were sounding pretty good and added two more doctors: Hal Forseth and Jim Epler. They had a great time and began to sound almost good. Paula McClave joined. Then for Christmas, 1999, their shifty wives booked them a gig! It was to be the following April at the Club Carlin. They panicked! They practiced! A lot!! They came up with a name. The MidLife Chryslers were born!
Playing for a few friends and loved ones went pretty well, and a few more gigs were added. A few more electric guitars and amps were added, too, and they began to sound more and more like a real rock band. Epler retired from the band and late in 2000, Mark Moak joined as drummer. Just as they were getting going, the death of Bob Snider in March 2001 dealt them a major setback. After a few months off, however, the music and the spirit of Bob called them back and the Chryslers re-formed. With the additions of Russ Harvey and Cathy Hansen Brown, the MidLife Chryslers took another form.
In 2006, Mac and Paula left the band; Hal moved over to bass and Scott Millikan came on play lead guitar. Shortly after, Holly Hansen Flack joined the Chryslers as lead female vocalist. In 2008, four horn players joined the band, adding a new sound to the Chryslers. Kevin McBride and Laury Seely on trumpet, Steve Patton on trombone and Laurel Linde on saxaphone.
Power-house blues, Memphis soul, and roots rock’n’roll. Featuring the high-octane boogie piano and big soul sounds of vocalist and blues man Victor Wainwright, backed by one of the tightest smokin’ bands on the scene; the WildRoots.
Victor Wainwright, singer, pianist, “hepcat” from Memphis, Tennessee by way of the Savannah, Georgia; is a raucous high-octane dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare. After earning what he calls a “double major in Boogie, a Ph.D. in Swing and a master’s in Rhythm,” the “Piana’ from Savannah” is making a name for himself in a big way.
Stephen Dees is a rock n’ roll aficionado, touring and-or recording as bassist and vocalist for Hall and Oates, Todd Rundgren, Pat Travers, and Foghat to name a few. He was a Billboard and MTV char-tee with his band Novo Combo, and has received great acclaim for his original rock band “Bandees.”
The boogie blues “piana” player and savvy pop-rocker met in 2004 in Ormond Beach FL, where they were both on the bill of a benefit concert. Very impressed after hearing each other perform and finding that they had a common love for blues, R&B and roots rock ‘n’ roll out of the ‘50s and 60’s, such as B.B. King, Ray Charles, James Brown, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, Louis Jordan, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard; they discussed the possibility of collaborating. Returning WildRoots alumni includes Greg Gumpel on guitar, along with Ray Guiser & Patricia Ann Dees on saxophones; and introducing Billy Dean on drums.