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Gatlins say the time has come to break up the act

The Gatlin Brothers, citing health problems, rising business costs and "new hat" country performers, will break up when their tour ends next year. "I want us to go out with some style, with some dignity, with some class," Larry Gatlin said. "So, for the time being, adios, no hard feelings."

Gatlin and his brothers, Steve and Rudy, haven't had a major hit record in four years and face a music scene dominated by newcomers like Clint Black and Garth Brooks.

"We're kind of old hats, and the new hats are happening," Gatlin, the group's lead singer and songwriter said.

Gatlin must take a four-month break from performing this summer to undergo surgery to remove cysts from his vocal cords. He broke down on stage Saturday as they kicked off their "Adios, For Now" farewell tour in Davenport, Iowa.

"I can't make it. It's that simple. The voice is gone," he said after the concert.

After he recovers, the tour will resume and continue until late next year. Gatlin said concert income is still high, but record royalties are down and travel expenses are rising.

"We're not just taking time off," Steve Gatlin said. "It's a little more severe than that. We have no choice but to disband the Gatlin Brothers, and we are not planning on the comeback."

When the tour ends, Larry Gatlin said he will keep writing songs. Steve Gatlin plans to go into artist management and Rudy Gatlin wants to produce.