For exlusive pictures from the recent Lari Goss Tribute concert not included in the September Singing News, go to the Singing News page of Facebook here.
The term "genius" is grossly overused, but Lari Goss is a true genius in every sense of the word! With a Grammy Award, 17 Dove Awards, and countless other accolades, there is no one who has revolutionized the gospel music industry more than this man. His unique arrangements are among the most distinctive in all of the music industry. His piano stylings have influenced a multitude of our genre's greatest musicians. His powerful orchestrations have brought millions of people to their feet all across the world. Countless musicians and artists (myself included) have revered Lari Goss for years, but many fans may have never heard his name. I suppose you could call Lari, "the man behind the music." I normally feature performing artists, but I believe YOU need to learn about this man; a man who has made many of YOUR favorite artists what they are today. Here is his story:
The year was 1945. Benjamin and Annie Mae Goss were rejoicing the birth of their third child, Lari. Little did the proud parents know, this child would change the course of the gospel music industry forever. Despite a life of near poverty, the Goss family always had a joyous song in their heart; the kind of song that comes only from knowing Jesus Christ and His redemptive power. The Goss family was an integral part of Center Baptist Church in Center, GA; when they weren't traveling and singing, that is. There wasn't one in the Goss family that didn't possess a God-given love and talent for music. Benjamin had his three talented boys, James, Roni, and Lari singing with him by the time they could walk. Annie Mae accompanied on the piano. The Goss Family took every opportunity they were offered to lift up their Savior in song - whether at church services, revivals, camp-meetings, or all-day singings.
When Lari was five years old, his father would lift him up onto the piano bench alongside his mother and Lari would begin playing. He never had any formal training- that just wasn't an option in those days- but young Lari showed tremendous potential at the keyboard. By the age of twelve, Lari had attended the Stamps Quartet School of Music in Wedowee, Alabama; one of the famous annual singing schools of the time. Under the instruction of C.C. Stafford, Lari learned how to read and write music. He learned the basics of music theory and harmony. Those who observed him at the school were shocked at how music seemed to be second-nature for Lari. He was truly a prodigy.
By the time Lari graduated from high school in 1962, his parents were no longer able to travel and sing, so Lari, Roni, and James began to carry on their musical legacy. They hired a bass and tenor singer, Lari sang lead, Roni sang baritone, and James played the piano. After the final step of purchasing a bus, the Goss Brothers Quartet was born. It didn't take long for the brothers to realize that a quartet just wasn't where God was leading them. Always the encourager, Benjamin urged his sons to keep singing. "You don't need any other singers. Just the three of you," he'd say. It didn't take long for the Goss Brothers to catch the attention of gospel music promoter, Wally Fowler. Fowler was the man behind the famous "All-Night Singings" across the southern states. Wally was impressed by the brothers' unique sound and began to book them in his concerts. Groups like the Statesmen, Blackwood Brothers, Happy Goodmans, and the Chuck Wagon Gang, were intrigued by this unique new sound, and requested that the Goss Brothers be booked in concerts with them. With influences like the Four Lads and the Four Freshmen, the Goss Brothers were known for their tight, modern harmony and cutting-edge arrangements. The release of their first album in 1962, "A New Concept in Gospel Music" further cemented them as groundbreakers in the world of gospel music. Although many fans didn't understand the innovative trio at the time, most artists were enamored by the group. The Goss Brothers were one of the first acts to utilize orchestra in their recordings. They were also pioneers in the art of using soundtracks for live performance; a practice that is almost universal in the industry today.