Gary Stewart (singer)

Gary Stewart (singer)

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Gary Stewart


Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Born = birth date|1944|05|28 Jenkins, Kentucky, U.S.
Died = death date and age|2003|12|16|1944|05|28 Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.
Instrument = Piano, Guitar, Bass
Genre = Country, Outlaw Country, Honky-Tonk, Southern rock
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter
Years_active = 1968 - 2003
Label = Cory, Kapp, Decca, RCA, MCA, HighTone, Smith Music Group
Associated_acts = Dean Dillon, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman
URL =
Notable_instruments =

Gary Stewart (May 28, 1944December 16, 2003)Some sources state he was born in 1945, but Kentucky birth records and the Social Security death index proves he was born in 1944. The latter confirms his death date. See Gary R Stewart birth record, Commonwealth of Kentucky, vol. 061, certificate number 30044, 1944.] was a country musician and songwriter known for his distinctive vibrato voice and his southern rock influenced, outlaw country sound. During the peak of his popularity in the mid-1970s "Time" magazine described him as the "king of honkytonk." [cite journal
last = DeVoss
first = David
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A Honky-Tonk Man
journal = Time
volume =
issue =
pages =
publisher =
location =
date = September 27, 1976
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,918379,00.html?internalid=ACA
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-10
He was often introduced as the "King of Honky-Tonk"; see, for instance, the intro to his 2003 live album "Live at Billy Bob's".
]

Early life and career

Named after actor Gary Cooper, Gary R. Stewart was born in the Letcher County, Kentucky, town of Jenkins, the son of George and Georgia Stewart. In 1959 his father, a coal miner, sustained in 1958 an injury while working in the mines, and shortly after the family moved to Fort Pierce, a city on Florida's Atlantic coast. ["A Honky-Tonk Man"; cite book
last = Wolff
first = Kurt
authorlink =
coauthors = Orla Duane
title = Country Music: The Rough Guide
publisher = Rough Guides
year = 2000
location = London
pages = 376-377
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 1858285348
, cite web
last = McDonough
first = Jimmy
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart
work = Perfect Sound Forever
publisher =
year = 2004
url = http://www.furious.com/perfect/garystewart.html
format = Electronic Journal
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-10
, and cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart: Biography
work = CMT.com
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/stewart_gary_1_/bio.jhtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-10
]

Learning guitar and piano, Stewart began touring with local bands and writing songs in his teens. He married Mary Lou Taylor, more than three years his senior, at age seventeen and began working during the daytime in an airplane factory. He still played in rock and country bands at night. While playing in an Okeechobee, Florida, honky-tonk known as the Wagon Wheel he met country singer Mel Tillis, who advised Stewart to travel to Nashville to pitch his songs. He recorded a few sides for the small Cory label in 1964 and began co-writing songs with local policeman Bill Eldridge. Stewart and Eldridge wrote Stonewall Jackson's 1965 country hit, "Poor Red Georgia Dirt." Signed to the Kapp label in 1968, Stewart made several unsuccessful recordings. But several songwriting successes followed for artists like Billy Walker ("She Goes Walking Through My Mind," "Traces of a Woman," "It's Time to Love Her"), Cal Smith ("You Can't Housebreak a Tomcat", "It Takes Me All Night Long"), and Nat Stuckey ("Sweet Thang And Cisco"). He even played piano for a time in Charley Pride's band the Pridesmen, and can be heard on Pride's live "In Person" double-album. Disappointed with Music Row, however, he soon returned to Florida and resumed playing countrified rock 'n' roll in local clubs and bars. ["Country Music: The Rough Guide", 376-377; "A Honky-Tonk Man"; "Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart"; "Gary Stewart: Biography"; cite book
last = Stambler
first = Irwin
authorlink =
coauthors = Grelun Landon
title = Country Music: The Encyclopedia
publisher = St. Martin's Press
year = 1997
location = New York
pages = 464-465
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0312151217
, cite book
last = Bogdanov
first = Vladimir
authorlink =
coauthors = Chris Woodstra, and Stephen Thomas Erlewine
title = All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music
publisher = Backbeat Books
year = 2003
location = San Francisco
pages = 721-722
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0879307609
]

Peak of career

Stewart was dropped from Kapp and then from Decca, but a series of demo tapes, including some countrified Motown tunes, found their way into the hands of producer Roy Dea, who convinced Jerry Bradley to sign Stewart to RCA Records. He returned to Nashville in 1973 and recorded a cover version of "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers, both of whom where Stewart's personal friends. It only charted at #63 on the country charts but his follow-up, 1974's "Drinkin' Thing," became a top-ten country hit. Stewart's album "Out of Hand" was released in early 1975. "Out of Hand," the title cut from the album, became a #4 country hit and was followed by number one hit "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)." ["Country Music: The Rough Guide", 376-377; "A Honky-Tonk Man"; "Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart"; "Gary Stewart: Biography"; "Country Music: The Encyclopedia", 464-465; "All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music", 721-722.]

The album "Out of Hand", which climbed to #6 on the Billboard country albums chart, has since become one of the most critically lauded country albums of the 1970s. Rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A- saying that it "was the best regular issue country LP I've heard in about five years." [cite book
last = Christgau
first = Robert
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide
publisher = Da Capo Press
year = 1990
location = New York
pages = 373
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0306804093
] Rolling Stone gave it high praise as well, stating that, "With practitioners like Stewart around, honky-tonk—and rockabilly—may not be dead yet." [cite journal
last = Miller
first = Jim
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart: Out of Hand
journal = Rolling Stone
volume =
issue = 190
pages =
publisher =
location =
date = July 3, 1975
url = http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/garystewart/albums/album/281494/review/5943163/out_of_hand
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-10
] Thom Jurek of Allmusic later gave the album five of five stars and stated that: "A strong case could be made for "Out of Hand" as one of the Top 100 country records of all time. It might be in this writer's Top Ten!" ["All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music", 721-722.] Country music critic Bill C. Malone called "Out of Hand" "one of the greatest honky-tonk country albums ever recorded. [cite book
last = Malone
first = Bill C.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class
publisher = University of Illinois Press
year = 2006
location = Urbana
pages = 363
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0252073665
]

Later in 1975, MCA released Stewart's old Kapp material scoring a #15 hit with the single "Your Not the Woman You Use to Be." For the rest of the 1970s Stewart played the honky tonks with his road band, The Honky Tonk Liberation Army, and recorded similar albums with modest success for RCA: 1976's "Steppin' Out", 1977's "Your Place or Mine" (which featured guest artists Nicolette Larson, Emmylou Harris, and Rodney Crowell), and 1978's "Little Junior". These albums spawned several top forty hit singles, including: "Flat Natural Born Good-Timin' Man," "In Some Room Above the Street," "Single Again," "Your Place or Mine," "Quits," and "Whiskey Trip." ["Country Music: The Rough Guide", 376-377; "A Honky-Tonk Man"; "Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart"; "Gary Stewart: Biography"; "Country Music: The Encyclopedia", 464-465; "All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music", 721-722; "Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide", 373. His 1977 ode to marital distress entitled "Ten Years of This," from the album "Your Place or Mine", was a favorite of Bob Dylan and a #16 hit. ["Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart." Dylan notes his admiration of for Gary Stewart in a 1978 interview with "Playboy". See, for instance, [http://www.interferenza.com/bcs/interw/play78.htm] .]

Later career and death

Though his late 1970s albums were well-received by critics and his core audience, but Stewart never established a large audience. He was often labeled as too country for rock music and too rock for the country music. In 1980, he released the Chips Moman produced "Cactus and a Rose" which featured Southern rockers Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Mike Lawler, and Bonnie Bramlett. It did not garner much airplay and RCA teamed Stewart up with songwriter Dean Dillon for a pair of duet records. Soon after, Stewart returned to Florida, where alcoholism and drug use kept him from recording for much of the 1980s. His son, Gary Joseph Stewart, committed suicide late in the decade as well. Stewart signed with the HighTone label in 1988 and recorded three albums over the next five years. These albums included fan favorites like the minor-hit "An Empty Glass (That's the Way the Day Ends)" (written by Stewart and Dillon), "Let's Go Jukin'" (written by Stewart and Betts), and "Brand New Whiskey" (written by Stewart and his wife). ["Country Music: The Rough Guide", 376-377; "A Honky-Tonk Man"; "Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart"; "Gary Stewart: Biography"; "Country Music: The Encyclopedia", 464-465; "All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music", 721-722.

Stewart continued to tour through the 1990s, playing venues such as Fort Worth's Billy Bob's Texas several times a year. [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart
work = Lone Star Music
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.lonestarmusic.com/artists.asp?id=975
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-13
] During this time Bob Dylan, while touring with Tom Petty in Florida, drove out of his way to meet Stewart, "confessing that he'd played Stewart's ode to marital malaise 'Ten Years of This' over and over, the record casting a spell over him." ["Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart."] In 2003, Stewart released "Live at Billy Bob's Texas", his first album in ten years and his first ever live album. Reviewers at All Music Guide gave it good marks. ["All Music Guide", [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:fzfqxq9ald6e] ]

On November 26, 2003, the day before Thanksgiving, his wife of nearly forty-three years died of pneumonia. Stewart, who had been scheduled to play Billy Bob's three days later, canceled his concert appearances. His friends later told reporters that he was extremely despondent after Mary Lou's death. On December 16, his daughter's boyfriend and Stewart's very close friend Bill Hardman visited Stewart's Fort Pierce, Florida, home to check on his welfare. They found Stewart dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the neck. ["Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart"; cite news
last = Flippo
first = Chet
coauthors =
title = Honky-Tonk Singer Gary Stewart Dies: Out of Hand country rocker apparently committed suicide
work = CMT.com
pages =
language =
publisher =
date = December 17, 2003
url = http://www.cmt.com/artists/news/1482923/20031217/stewart_gary_1_.jhtml
accessdate = 2008-02-10
, and cite news
last = Passy
first = Charles
coauthors =
title = The Ballad of Gary & Mary Lou: Gary Stewart was a Hard-Partying Country Star, the King of Honky-Tonk, but it was his Devoted Lou Who Kept His Life Together, and When She Died, He Just Couldn't Go On
work = Palm Beach Post
pages =
language =
publisher =
date = March 14, 2004
url = http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-92192627.html
accessdate = 2008-02-10
]

Discography

Albums

ingles

References

ources and external links

ources

*cite book
last = Bogdanov
first = Vladimir
authorlink =
coauthors = Chris Woodstra, and Stephen Thomas Erlewine
title = All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music
publisher = Backbeat Books
year = 2003
location = San Francisco
pages = 721-722
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0879307609

*cite book
last = Christgau
first = Robert
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Rock Albums of the '70s: A Critical Guide
publisher = Da Capo Press
year = 1990
location = New York
pages = 373
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0306804093

*cite journal
last = Dansby
first = Andrew
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Country Singer Stewart Dead: Seventies star fused southern rock and honky-tonk
journal = Rolling Stone
volume =
issue =
pages =
publisher =
location =
date = December 19, 2003
url = http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/garystewart/articles/story/5935279/country_singer_stewart_dead
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-19

*cite journal
last = DeVoss
first = David
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A Honky-Tonk Man
journal = Time
volume =
issue =
pages =
publisher =
location =
date = September 27, 1976
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,918379,00.html?internalid=ACA
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite news
last = Flippo
first = Chet
coauthors =
title = Honky-Tonk Singer Gary Stewart Dies: Out of Hand country rocker apparently committed suicide
work = CMT.com
pages =
language =
publisher =
date = December 17, 2003
url = http://www.cmt.com/artists/news/1482923/20031217/stewart_gary_1_.jhtml
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite book
last = Malone
first = Bill C.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class
publisher = University of Illinois Press
year = 2006
location = Urbana
pages = 363
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0252073665

*cite web
last = McDonough
first = Jimmy
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart
work = Perfect Sound Forever
publisher =
year = 2004
url = http://www.furious.com/perfect/garystewart.html
format = Electronic Journal
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite journal
last = Miller
first = Jim
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart: Out of Hand
journal = Rolling Stone
volume =
issue = 190
pages =
publisher =
location =
date = July 3, 1975
url = http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/garystewart/albums/album/281494/review/5943163/out_of_hand
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite news
last = Passy
first = Charles
coauthors =
title = The Ballad of Gary & Mary Lou: Gary Stewart was a Hard-Partying Country Star, the King of Honky-Tonk, but it was his Devoted Lou Who Kept His Life Together, and When She Died, He Just Couldn't Go On
work = Palm Beach Post
pages =
language =
publisher =
date = March 14, 2004
url = http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-92192627.html
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite book
last = Stambler
first = Irwin
authorlink =
coauthors = Grelun Landon
title = Country Music: The Encyclopedia
publisher = St. Martin's Press
year = 1997
location = New York
pages = 464-465
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0312151217

*cite book
last = Wolff
first = Kurt
authorlink =
coauthors = Orla Duane
title = Country Music: The Rough Guide
publisher = Rough Guides
year = 2000
location = London
pages = 376-377
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 1858285348

*cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart: Biography
work = CMT.com
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/stewart_gary_1_/bio.jhtml
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-10

*cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart
work = Lone Star Music
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.lonestarmusic.com/artists.asp?id=975
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-13

*cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart
work = Rolling Stone
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/garystewart
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-19

*cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Gary Stewart
work = All Music Guide
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&token=ADFEAEE57A18D24BA47420D39B3348C0B57EE501D750EE811000425AC8B83041814375EE51E98392F2AF35EC3CECB32CBB5B0FCCC8EE56F49060373D84E4A367284F36&sql=11:jifwxql5ldfe~T0
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-19

External links

* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:jifwxql5ldfe~T0 Gary Stewart at] Allmusic
* [http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/stewart_gary_1_/artist.jhtml Gary Stewart at] CMT.com
* [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/garystewart Gary Stewart at] Rolling Stone.com
* [http://www.lonestarmusic.com/artists.asp?id=975 Gary Stewart at] Lone Star Music
* [http://www.furious.com/perfect/garystewart.html "Little Junior, King of the Honky-Tonks: The Life and Death of Gary Stewart," "Perfect Sound Forever", by Jimmy McDonough]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,918379-1,00.html "A Honky-Tonk Man," "Time", by David DeVoss]
* [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=Gary+Stewart Gary Stewart at] Robert Christgau's website
* [http://www.tomhull.com/ocston/arch/stewart.php "Gary Stewart Kicks the Shit Off Your Shoes," "Tom Hull's Old Rock Critic Writings", Tom Hull]


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