Gary Stewart
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When a song is titled 'She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)', it either has to be one absolutely great song, or it's gonna be the worst thing someone put down on vinyl (yes kids, vinyl).

In this case the song was great, and while it's a country classic, it's a 'honky-tonk' country standard.

The year is 1975 and for the most part what was called 'honky-tonk' music is in the country music rear view mirror. The 1950's had tons of honky-tonk hits, and the genre had a good run in the 1960's, but by the time the 70's came along, things had changed some, had - smoothed out.

It seemed like country music wasn't as raw as it used to be. The Outlaw Movement was making rumblings around the nation, and soon the phrase 'Waylon and Willie' would dominate not only country radio, but pop as well.

Meanwhile, what some called 'city-fied' country had come along with artist's like Olivia Newton-JohnJohn Denver and others.

The days of 'honky-tonk' did seem to be, indeed, if not dead, at least on life support.

Then came a shot of life, a blast of honky-tonk oxygen in the form of a song called 'She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles'). And suddenly, country music fan's everywhere were singing along with a guy named Gary Stewart.

Gary would never top the country chart again, although he had several chart songs and, yes, almost all of them would fall into the 'honky tonk' category. Songs like 'Drinkin' Thing,' 'In Some Room Above The Street' and 'Your Place Or Mine.'

I've always thought that Gary, along with the late great Mel Street, kept the good ol' drinkin' and cheatin' honky tonk sound around through a time in country music where the musical taste's were shifting.

Now, with all those great getting drunk and sleeping around hit's Gary had you probably think he led one wild life style.

You couldn't be more wrong.

On the day before Thanksgiving in 2003 Gary's wife of nearly 43 years passed away from pneumonia. The grief of losing the only true love of his life overpowered this honky-tonk hero, and it was less than one month later Gary took his own life, with a self-inflicted gunshot. He was just 59 years old.

But let's celebrate this honky-tonk legend one more time with a great song, 'An Empty Glass'.

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