‘Hoping for lots of watermelon’: Gatlin Brother looking forward to tonight’s performance in Chipley

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CHIPLEY – Rudy Gatlin, who represents one-third of the Grammy award winning trio, The Gatlin Brothers, says the group is looking forward to headlining tonight’s Panhandle Watermelon Festival in Chipley.

Gatlin says this is their first visit to Washington County.

“I’m looking forward to working with Jamie ‘O Neal and Andy Griggs, but I’m also hoping for a lot of watermelon,” he said.


The festival will be The Gatlin Brothers’ ninth show since the COVID-19 pandemic and just their fifth this year.


“It feels good to be able to get back out there,” said Rudy Gatlin. “It’s what we do, and we enjoy doing it. We will do this until we can’t do it anymore.”


With more than 60 years of entertaining behind them, Larry, Steve, and Rudy Gatlin have accrued a lifetime of noteworthy achievements, including a Grammy® for Best Country Song (“Broken Lady”), three ACM awards for Single of the Year (“All The Gold In California”), Album of the Year (Straight Ahead) and Male Vocalist of the Year, along with five nominations for CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Single, and Album. The brothers have also accumulated seven #1 singles, 32 Top 40 records; more than 20 studio albums and five BMI “Million-Air” Awards.


Yet, as their success gained momentum, the brothers stayed true to their Southern Gospel and country roots, unswayed by music industry trends toward more “flash.”


“We decided a long time ago what we were going to do and how we were going do it,” Rudy Gatlin said in a phone interview with the Washington County News on Thursday. “We were going to sing Larry’s songs and sing a three-part harmony where it was needed and try to use our band. We were producing our records and doing them exactly the way we wanted to do them.”


The brothers began their career in Abilene, Texas in 1955 when Larry was six, Steve was four, and Rudy was two. The brothers grew up singing gospel music while listening to James Blackwood and the Blackwood Brothers and Hovie Lister and The Statesmen Quartet. 


“Those guys were our heroes,” said Gatlin. “They still are.”


Gates open at 5:00 tonight at Jim Trawick Park. Musical performances will kick off at 6 p.m. with Jamie ‘O Neal, followed by Andy Griggs, and topped off by The Gatlin Brothers.

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