Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vern Gosdin Dead at 74

I heard very early this morning that the great voice of Vern Gosdin was silenced last night and I've had Vern on my mind ever since. Vern Gosdin was one of the best stylists in the history of country music and, for the most part, he stayed true to the genre by refusing to slide into the watered-down claptrap that passes for country music today. Of course, that meant Vern had to kiss country radio goodbye a long time ago - but he knew that was coming anyway because country radio, with rare exception, refuses to play anyone over 40 years old (much preferring the music of 17-year-old girls who cannot sing without an autotuner in their hip pockets).

I know that I'm ranting - but when I think of all the great talent that gets pushed aside for the likes of those who become "stars," my blood pressure tends to rise dramatically.

This, though, is about Vern Gosdin, the man called "The Voice" by those who love real country music and know its colorful history. Enjoy.

"Chiseled in Stone" was the 1989 country music song of the year and no one can possibly ever match Vern's version. The emotion he displays, in combination with how he uses his voice to sell this song, is simply superb. Vern was under-appreciated by the general country music audience but those who know country music best (singers, musicians, critics and astute fans) always place him among the very best singers in country music history. And, without a doubt, they are correct.

Rest in peace, Mr. Gosdin. Your fans thank you and hope to catch you on the other side.


  1. I am so sorry to hear this. I had to CD of Chiseled in Stone. My dad loved the song Tight as Twin Fiddles...I loved the title track.

  2. He had a stroke a while back, Amy, and just could not recover from it. If I remember correctly, he had several strokes before this one.

    I like that favorite of your Dad's, too...great album, in fact.

  3. Those older guys are starting to die off with frightening regularity now. Leaving us...what?

    I'm still disgruntled about a really horrible version of "Easy From Now On" that I caught recently on youtube.

  4. Leaving us the Taylor Swifts of the world, Suzi...little girls who really can't sing and who pretend to be country singers. Radio loves them because they sell to all those little girls who enjoy dressing up like Hannah Montana so much. Country radio died a decade ago - Garth stabbed us in the back first and, when we were still on our knees, a bunch of others like Shania, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, etc. stomped us to death.

    Real country music has gone underground - and is doing very well as good solid regional music but it is invisible to what calls itself FM country radio.

    Dale Watson does a great song called "Legends (What If)" that perfectly expresses what it feels like to be losing our legends one-by-one while watching them be replaced by the likes of those I mention above.

  5. Sam,

    I knew you would be ranting, so thought I'd stop by and say Hi.

    Since our board went away wanted you to know I did buy "From the Cradle to the Grave", love it!!!! So I am now the proud owner of 6 Dale Watson CDs.

    Even prouder of those 6 Gary Stewart albums I have found!!!

    Miss your rants :)
    Take Care, Donna

  6. A sad loss for country music. We've created an online tribute for fans to pay their respects at

  7. Donna, you know me way too well.

    You know, sometimes I really miss the days when I could rant and rave in public about the destruction of country music by a bunch of twerps in pink shirts who wouldn't know a country song if it bit 'em in the butt. Ah, good times... :-)

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Alex. I'll check out your tribute ASAP.