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Gary Stewart

While much of what passes for contemporary country music in the '90s and 2000s sounds like reheated Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, what's really annoying is what a youth-driven market it has become, leaving many great country performers of the '60s and '70s out in the cold. This is especially irritating when considering the career of Gary Stewart, one of the greatest of the hardcore-honky tonk school who, at his peak in the mid- to late '70s, could write and sing circles around just about any contemporary country star you could mention. A native of Florida, Stewart escaped a lifetime of working in an airplane factory in the late '60s by pitching some songs he'd written to soon-to-be RCA country label honcho Jerry Bradley. At the time, Stewart (who was composing with his friend Bill Eldridge) didn't aspire to more than being an in-demand Nashville songwriter, but after a couple of years writing with some success, and through Bradley's continued intercession, he was given the opportunity to record on his own. With his huge, vibrato-laden tenor voice (which sounds a bit like Jerry Lee Lewis'), Stewart, with the inestimable help of songwriter Wayne Carson, released 1975's Out of Hand, one of the finest honky tonk records of all time. Paced by the hit "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," Gary Stewart was quickly becoming a country music star.

Although he composed songs for traditional Grand Ole Opry stars (Cal Smith, Hank Snow), Stewart himself never emulated the traditional values espoused by the Nashville establishment; as one of his song titles stated, he was more of a "flat natural-born good-timin' man." He hung out (and caroused plenty) with Southern rock musicians, using them on his albums at a time when this was still considered radical. He was a renegade, unwilling to play the Nashville game, and his increasing success provided him with the autonomy he needed to do his own thing. However, this generally meant conspicuous excess, especially when it came to substance abuse. Still, from 1975 through 1980, Stewart's recorded work is mostly excellent, with a conspicuous high point coming in 1977 with the release of Your Place or Mine. A hard-driving slice of aggressive honky tonk, it was a rollickingly good piece of work, not the equal to Out Of Hand, but as important an assertion of Stewart's independence from the machinations of country music's star-making machinery. There were problems, however: Stewart was too country for rock audiences and too rock for country audiences, and that limited any stab at broader appeal.

In 1980, he released Cactus and a Rose, with considerable help from Southern rock vets Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Mike Lawler, and Bonnie Bramlett. It was a fine record, but attracted only Stewart's core audience, and at this point in his career, that simply wasn't enough. Suddenly it seemed as if his desire and creativity vanished. He hooked up with Dean Dillon and made a couple of terrible two-good-ol'-boy records that made the redneck rowdiness of Hank Williams, Jr. sound philosophical by comparison. Not long afterwards, Stewart returned to Florida and stopped recording. After his alcoholism and drug use pretty much canceled out a large part of the '80s, Stewart returned, clean and sober, with a strong comeback record, Brand New, in 1988. It wasn't the Gary Stewart of old, but it was a respectable record, and it was enough to propel a comeback that continued with I'm a Texan. Stewart released the first live album of his career in 2003 with Live at Billy Bob's Texas, an album that proved that despite his low profile he was still a formidable honky tonker. Stewart took his own life in December of 2003 following the death of his wife of 43 years in November. He was 59. His heyday was in the '70s, but Gary Stewart deserved to be celebrated for his considerable talent, tenacity, and influence. ~ John Dougan
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Your Place Or Mine

1. Your Place Or Mine

2. Rachel

3. Leah

4. Drinking Again

5. The Blue Ribbon Blues

6. Pretend I Never Happened

7. I Had To Get Drunk Last Night

8. I Ain't Living Long Like This

9. Broken Hearted People (Take Me To A Barroom)

10. Ten Years Of This

11. Dancing Eyes


Track List: The Essential Gary Stewart

Disc 1

1. Honky-Tonkin'

2. Drinkin' Thing

3. Out of Hand

4. She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)

5. I See the Want to in Your Eyes

6. This Old Heart Won't Let Go

7. Sweet Country Red

8. Williamson County

9. Back Sliders Wine

10. Draggin' Shackles

11. Hank Western

12. Flat Natural Born Good-Timin' Man

13. Oh, Sweet Temptation

14. In Some Room Above the Street

15. Quits

16. I Still Can't Believe You're Gone

17. Trudy

18. Rachel

19. Leah

20. The Blue Ribbon Blues

Disc 2

1. Your Place or Mine

2. Ten Years of This

3. Drinking Again

4. I Had to Get Drunk Last Night

5. Dancing Eyes

6. I Ain't Living Long Like This

7. Little Junior

8. I Got Mine

9. Whiskey Trip

10. Single Again

11. Stone Wall (Around Your Heart)

12. Mazelle

13. She Sings Amazing Grace

14. She's Got a Drinking Problem

15. Memories Swim in Whiskey

16. Harlan County Highway

17. I've Just Seen the Rock of Ages

18. Cold Turkey

19. Honky-Tonkin'

20. Roarin'


Track List: Cactus And A Rose / Collector's Series

2. Cactus And A Rose

6. Roarin'

7. Harlan County Highway

8. Are We Dreamin' The Same Dream

11. Drinkin' Thing

12. Out Of Hand

14. Back Sliders Wine

15. She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)

16. In Some Room Above The Street

17. I See The Want To In Your Eyes

18. Your Place Or Mine

20. Honky-Tonkin'

21. Drinking Again

22. Whiskey Trip

23. Single Again


Track List: Steppin' Out/Little Junior

1. Flat Natural Born Good Timin' Man

2. Quits

3. Trudy

4. I Still Can't Believe You're Gone

5. Lord What A Woman

6. Oh, Sweet Temptation

9. Hank Western

10. Easy People

11. In Some Room Above The Street

12. Whiskey Trip

13. Little Junior

14. Stone Wall (Around Your Heart)

16. Single Again

18. I Got Mine

20. Honky Tonkin'

24. Memories Swim In Whiskey


Track List: RCA Country Legends: Gary Stewart

1. Sweet-Tater And Cisco

2. Ramblin' Man

3. Drinkin' Thing

4. I See The Want In Your Eyes

5. Out Of Hand

6. She's Actin' SIngle (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)

7. You're Not The Woman You Use To Be

8. Flat Natural Born Good-Timin' Man

9. In Some Room Above The Street

10. Your Place Or Mine

11. The Blue Ribbon Blues

12. Ten Years Of This

13. Quits

14. Whiskey Trip

15. Hank Western

16. Little Junior


Track List: Live At Billy Bob's Texas

1. Little Junior (Live)

2. Flat Natural Born Good Timin' Man (Live)

3. Whiskey Trip (Live)

4. An Empty Glass (That's The Way The Day Ends) (Live)

5. She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles) (Live)

6. I See The Want To In Your Eyes (Live)

7. Out Of Hand (Live)

8. Ten Years Of This (Live)

9. Quits (Live)

10. Drinkin' Thing (Live)

11. In Some Room Above The Street (Live)

12. Single Again (Live)

13. Your Place Or Mine (Live)

14. Are We Dreamin' The Same Dream (Live)

15. Brand New Whiskey (Live)


Track List: Best Of The Hightone Years

1. Rainin' Rainin' Rainin' (2014)

2. Brand New Whiskey

3. Nothin' But A Woman

4. Make It A Double

5. I'm A Texan

6. An Empty Glass

7. Nothin' Cheap About A Cheap Affair

8. Bedroom Battleground

9. I Get Drunk

10. Delia

11. Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor

12. Come On In

13. Let's Go Jukin'


Track List: I'm A Texan

1. Come On In

2. I'm A Texan

3. Stompin' Grounds

4. Hand Me Another

5. Draggin' Leather

6. It's True

7. Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor

8. Dark End Of The Street

9. Make It A Double

10. One Night

11. Those Memories

12. Two More Fools


Track List: Battleground

1. Nothin' But A Woman

2. Bedroom Battleground

3. Let's Go Jukin'

4. Nothing Cheap About A Cheap Affair

5. Ol' Hank's Lovesick Blues

6. Woman In Demand

7. Hey Leona

8. You're The Reason I'm Living

9. Delia

10. Seeing's Believing


Track List: Brand New

1. Brand New Whiskey

2. Son Of A Honky Tonk Woman

3. I Owe It All To My Heart

4. Lucretia

5. An Empty Glass

6. Rainin' Rainin' Rainin'

7. Looking For Some Brand New Stuff

8. Ramona

9. I Get Drunk

10. Murdered By Love


Track List: Out Of Hand

1. Drinkin' Thing

2. Honky-Tonkin'

3. I See The Want To In Your Eyes

4. This Old Heart Won't Let Go

5. Draggin' Shackles

6. She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)

7. Back Sliders Wine

8. Sweet Country Red

9. Out Of Hand

10. Williamson County


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Reminds me of when life was good, and slower paced
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Is there anyone else who believes Randy Rodgers needs to be hung for ruining the songs of Gary Stewart's he has covered??
I do. I know where he lives also
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ill take this over any of the bullcrap made today. Luke bryan is ruining country!! what happened to the good stuff!
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Been listening to Gary for many years (decades ) have all his albums.
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She's acting single, I'm drinking a s s i c lyrics!!
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Hate to tell you that your wrong, but Gary wasn't a native of Florida, he was born in Jenkins, Kentucky. His family moved to Florida after his father was injured in a work related accident.
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Listening to Gary Stewart how many years later? Such a colossal talent.
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What a singer never got his due!
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Gary was a great country singer with his own sound and his own way of playing that stuck in your mind and soul loved to listen to him and the rhtym music from the heart
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Met him and seen him perform at the Stagecoach Ballroom in Fort Worth Tx, 10 months before he passed. What a show and highlight of my life.
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He is #1 so sad about his loss of life.
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swampking200 8
The one cd i almost cut a groove thru while i didnt remove my Essentials album from my stereo in my truck for close to 5 years!! Gary's soul took me through the toughest breakup in my life!!!
Wat hurts more than anything you can imagie?
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He is the man for music in Louisiana Cajun said play his music everyday
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It's sad you have to die to become famous. He never really took off until after his death. Listen to him all the time
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rwilly 1950 ur a Lucky.. u got to see him perform
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I had not heard of this artist but when I did I was in awe and I'm not a country music guy. Thank you Rock Marshall from A Dakota for turning me on to him.
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To me Gary was the Greatest Honky Tonker and Showman ever. I used to see him perform at a small club near the old State Farmers Market in Fort Pierce,Fla. What great times they were !
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I was a good friend of Gary he use to stay at my house in conroe GC
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Gary is quite a singer. We need morel ike him to bring this countries music back to where it should be!
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Dam I am ready for a double
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I live in south Texas and we went to see him every time he was in our area. He was the BEST!!! I remember being a teen and not understandin g why he wasn't more recognized for his amazing talent. Those were the best times of my life, seeing Gary Stewart!! It was in the late 80's and 90's, and I feel very lucky to have seen him so many times. I only wish my daughters would have been able to see him too!!! They are 16 and 13 and they love Gary Stewart and all the old country music!!
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I would of loved to have given his wife a run for him.
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Gary Stewart- Is the essentials
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He's definitely from Florida he was my dads second cousin
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I always heard & was told that he was a Kentucky native. It's not important, he was darn good!
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Gary Stewart was born in my neck of the woods and I absolutely loved and still take his music on my trips. He was the second coming of Lefty Frizzell! He was such a good singer.
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Gary Stewart reminded me so much of "ole Lefty" and I loved his music. RIP Mr Stewart!!
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GARY STEWART straight up!
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There will never be another Gary glad I grew up this this kind of Vern Gosdin also.....RIP Gary....
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according to my ciphering, he married when 16?
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Whiskey trip, Crown Royal is a friend of mine
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I have the cd "Live for Billy Bob's" just wondering what month in 2003 it was recorded,kno w he committed suicide in December 2003.You never know what a person is going through, you tell how the audience loved his music like I do.I feel like so many others he didn't get the reconnection he deserved.But he didn't play for the Nashville suites he was his own man.See how Nashville is today it's sad.His music will live on for ever
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The truth is, I'm not man enough to stop her from doing me wrong! Great lyrics to a great song by a fantastic singer. There are no longer ANY so called " country artist" these days! County music is dead and these untalented singers of today killed it!
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Loved Gary seen at Marlow 's in Pikeville Ky alot .HE is missed but never forgotten
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I love listening to Gary Stewart. He's still one of my favorites of all times.
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One word describes Gary, "underrated" . Grew up listening to his music and there will never be another like him
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Gary Stewart could sing a honky tonk song better than anyone, very underrated singer. DJ'S didn't play his songs cause they were about drinking, cheating and stealing
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I love gary
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Gary stewart passed when I was three years old and in my hometown of Fort Pierce Fl.
Another great country singer gone R.I.P
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Im 16 and I wish my generation new what real country is love me some Gary!
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A true honky tonk icon !
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he was actually born in letcher county ky an lived there till he was 12. one of the best in my opinion
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Omg haven't heard this song in 4ever it's my brother from another mother fav song lmfao love u brother
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I listen to this man so much,he was real country,I am 60 and miss his music
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I love all the comments everyone has posted. I know it would mean alot to his daughter Shannon. My father basically grew up in the Stewart house. Gary was very close with dad and taught him alot that he knows musically. I was young when I spent most of the time I knew him and his wife marry lou. They were great people and they are greatly missed in life as well as the country music world.
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Gary was a good guy and his music made you get up and want to hear more ,He shares the stage with his voice and his songs drunk or sober when his songs were played it got your attention and you couldn't stop listening , He is the epitome of Honky Tonk , whether it was at The Vagabond on Houston's north side or at The Western Swing with Gene Watson , Today's singers scream , holler and all sound the same , The roots of country music and rockabilly are withering and dying.
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MelissaschAh i m l o v e y o u
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Great memories of seeing Gary at the Chip-N-Dance l a n d in Rendon, Tx back in the mid 70's. He was truly one of the greatest and to this day does not get the credit he deserves.
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