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.
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