Gary Stewart Biography

28 May 1945, Jenkins, Kentucky, USA, d. 16 December 2003, Fort Pierce, Florida, USA. Stewart’s family moved to Florida when he was 12, where he made his first record for the local Cory label and played in a beat group called the Amps. Teaming up with a policeman, Bill Eldridge, he wrote Stonewall Jackson’s 1965 US country hit, ‘Poor Red Georgia Dirt’. Several songwriting successes followed including chart entries for Billy Walker (‘She Goes Walking Through My Mind’, ‘When A Man Loves A Woman (The Way I Love You)’, ‘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’). Stewart recorded an album for Kapp Records, You’re Not The Woman You Used To Be, and then moved to RCA Records. He had his first US country hit with a country version of the Allman Brothers’ ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and then made the Top 10 with ‘Drinkin’ Thing’. For some years Stewart worked as the pianist in Charley Pride’s road band and he can be heard on Pride’s In Concert double album. He established himself as a hard-driving, honky-tonk performer with Out Of Hand and a US country number 1, ‘She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)’, although his vibrato annoyed some. His 1977 Your Place Or Mine included guest appearances from Nicolette Larson, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. His two albums with songwriter Dean Dillon were not commercial successes, and Stewart returned to working in honky-tonk clubs. Difficult times continued for Stewart with drug addiction and the suicide of son, Gary Joseph Stewart, in 1988. In the late 80s, Stewart returned to performing, carrying on in the same style as before with albums such as Brand New and I’m A Texan. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in December 2003.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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