Country singer Vern Gosdin, whose hit songs include classics like “Chiseled In Stone,” “Do You Believe Me Now” and “Set ‘em Up Joe,” died last night (4/28) in a Nashville hospital. He was 74. He had recently suffered a stroke. Gosdin grew up in rural Woodland, Alabama, and, after a start in bluegrass on the west coast, forming the Gosdin Brothers with his brothers Rex and Ray. The band was there for the birth of country rock, and Gosdin went on to play with The Byrds’ Chris Hillman and Gene Clark. Moving to Nashville in the late ‘70s, Gosdin quickly grew into one of country music’s very best honky tonk singers. Tammy Wynette referred to him as “the only other singer who can hold a candle to George Jones,” and he acquired the nickname, “The Voice.” In 1989, his recording of “Chiseled in Stone” was named the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year. A public visitation for Gosdin will be held Saturday, May 2, at Mt. Olivet Funeral Home, 1101 Lebanon Road, from noon until 4 PM. Funeral services will be private, but a public memorial service will be planned for a later time.
Industry Comments on the death of Vern Gosdin:
George Strait: “We will all miss Vern. He was one hell of a country singer and helped me out a lot on my very first tour. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Rory Feek (of country duo Joey & Rory: “Joey and I were so saddened to hear this morning that Vern Gosdin passed away. He truly was one of the greatest country voices of all time, and his songs like “Chiseled In Stone” set the bar for all of us and showed us what a great song is. We had the opportunity to meet Vern last year while we were on the CMT reality show “Can You Duet”…and we’re so thankful that we did. We had to live at Opryland Hotel for about 6 weeks while the show was taping and one morning we walked across the street to Cracker Barrel to have some breakfast. We saw a man walk by our table that looked like Vern. Both Joey and I were/are huge fans, so when he sat down, we walked over and said, ‘Excuse me…but are you Vern Gosdin?’ He looked up and with a big smile answered, ‘No, I’m Charlie Pride… pull up a chair, and sit for awhile.’ We spent the next hour just visiting with him and hearing stories about some of our favorite songs that he’d recorded over the years. He was so funny, inspirational and full of life. We were just honored to meet him and get to spend some time with one of our heroes….especially because at the time we were right in the middle of taping a TV show where we were doing all we could to lift up traditional country music and songs.”
Jack Ingram: “You can’t go into a bar room that plays real country music without hearing Vern Gosdin. ‘Chiseled In Stone’ is as sad a country song as ‘He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today,’ and ‘Set’Em Up, Joe’ is a call to anyone who’s ever had a reason to be in a bar like that to begin with…Vern Gosdin’s voice was truth… the hardcore country kind… and any time I heard him on jukebox, my car radio or my old tape of Chiseled in Stone, I knew there was a lot about life and loss and love left to learn.”
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