Country singer/songwriter Vern Gosdin, known as "The Voice" for his distinctive tone and heart-wrenching way with a lyric, died Monday night in Nashville following a recent stroke. He was 74.
Born in Woodland, Alabama, Gosdin's singing and writing style was influenced most by the Louvin Brothers. He came from a musical family, which gained notice with their "Gosdin Family Gospel Hour" on KVOX Birmingham. Gosdin and his brother Rex Gosdin moved to California in the early 1960's, where they performed with bluegrass group the Golden State Boys. That group included such notables as Chris Hillman and Don Parmley.
When Hillman left the group to form the Byrds, the Gosdin Brothers became a duo act, often performing with and opening shows for the Byrds. Gosdin relocated to Atlanta in the late '60s after minor success on the charts with the brother duo. He signed to Elektra in 1976, and began having solo hits with "Hangin' On," "Yesterday's Gone," and "'Til the End."
Nicknamed "The Voice" for his boundlessly expressive baritone, he issued many hits on various labels, most notably "Chiseled In Stone," which won the CMA Song of the Year award in 1988. That song was one of many that Gosdin wrote with Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame member, Max D. Barnes. He also co-wrote his 1982 hit "Today My World Slipped Away" with producer and label executive Mark Wright, which was later a hit for George Strait.
Gosdin's No. 1 songs include "I Can Tell By the Way You Dance" (1984), "Set 'Em Up Joe" (1988) and "I'm Still Crazy" (1989). He logged 41 solo singles and eight albums on the charts between 1976-93. As of press time, funeral arrangements have not been announced.