Vern Gosdin, R.I.P.

Vern GosdinVern Gosdin, who was known simply as "The Voice," passed away yesterday (4/28) in a Nashville hospital. The cause of death is not known at this time, but Gosdin is reported as having suffered a stroke a few weeks ago.

Vern Gosdin was born in Woodland, Alabama, on August 5, 1934. He idolized The Louvin Brothers and The Blue Sky Boys as a young man and sang in the local church where his mother played the piano.

As a teenager, his family hosted The Gosdin Family Gospel Show on a radio station in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1961, he moved to California, where he joined the West Coast Country music movement, first as a member of the Golden State Boys, then the Hillmen before forming The Gosdin Brothers with brother Rex. The duo hit the charts in the late 1960s with Hangin’ On on the Bakersfield International label, then with Till The End on Capitol Records.

The Hillmen - Rex Gosdin, Chris Hillman, Don Parmley, Vern GosdinIt was while with the Golden State Boys and then with another bluegrass group, the Hillmen, that Gosdin became known within bluegrass music circles. In 1963 and 1964 the quartet of Vern Gosdin, brother Rex, Don Parmley and Chris Hillman did some recordings that were released on the Together label. With its forward-looking sense of exploration, the album helped to pave the way for other progressive bluegrass groups like the New Grass Revival and the Seldom Scene.

The eponymous album was later released by Sugar Hill Records (SH-3719).

Gosdin went on to have an illustrious career in country music. His recording of Yesterday’s Gone reached No. 9 on the country chart in 1977. After that he enjoy much success with his recordings of I Can Tell by the Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight), Do You Believe Me Now, Chiseled in Stone, Set’ Em Up Joe and I’m Still Crazy.

His last Top 10 singles Right in the Wrong Direction and Is It Raining at Your House? were released in 1990.

One of the most recognisable voices in traditional country music is now silent.

Share this:

About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.