While the lasting notoriety of other like performers such as Gram Parsons and Waylon Jennings has eluded him, no one fused country music and rock and roll more effortlessly or uniquely than Floridian songwriter Gary Stewart. With an emotive vibrato that evoked George Jones and harmonic guitar leads that recalled Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, Gary Stewart found the exact dive where honky-tonk and southern rock shared the same barstool. Starting in the '60s as a songwriter, Stewart burst out of mid '70s Nashville with a string of critically lauded albums, strong material about wayward lovers, whiskey delusions, and hard-partying, and a number one single, "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinking Doubles.)" He continued to tour and record throughout the '80s and '90s--including two duet albums with songwriter Dean Dillon--but never reclaimed his '70s commercial stride. Stewart's later years were marked with a wrenching strife that included drug addiction and the suicide of his son. In December 2006, a grieving Stewart himself committed suicide about two weeks after his wife died of pneumonia.
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