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Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart

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The Statler Brothers were an iconic vocal group in country music. They began by backing Johnny Cash (not a bad early gig, for sure), and went on to win the CMA award for Vocal Group of the Year an astounding 8 years in a row between 1972 and 1980. The group is in both the country music and gospel music halls of fame and has won three Grammy Awards. Tenor Jimmy Fortune replaced Lew Dewitt in 1983, and continued with the group for 21 years. Now, Fortune has just released “Hits & Hymns,” and it's an album that is a half Statler Brothers hits, half hymns and spiritual songs.   ...
Black oxfords and white bobby socks cover Stacey Earle's dainty feet, which tap and slide and stomp the air in time to her guitar's rhythm. She wears a simple brown dress with a white t-shirt underneath, and a string of widely spaced pearls. A tiny hairclip keeps light brown bangs from swinging into her eyes as she bobs, happy to be singing on this stage in Lexington, Mass., on a June evening. It is the beginning of a tour that will take her around the U.S. and Canada. Her face shoots goofy muppet looks at the audience, expressing a songwriter's joy at having arrived. Finally.  ...

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