Today in Country Music, June 25, featuring the late Lew Dewitt of the Staler Brothers.
Today in country music, June 25
On this day in 2011, Miranda Lambert's trio The Pistol Annies released their first single, the self-penned "Hell On Heels," at itunes and other digital retailers.
Today in 2006, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were married at Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel in Sydney, Australia.
Reba Mcentire filed for divorce from Charlie Battles, four days after their 11th anniversary in 1987… two years later, she married Narvel Blackstock who remains her husband and manager to this day.
And on this day in 1982, The Statler Brothers announced That Crohn's disease had forced the retirement of Lew Dewitt.
The Statler Brothers were founded in 1955 in Staunton, Virginia. Originally performing gospel music at local churches, the group billed themselves as The Four Star Quartet, and later The Kingsmen. In 1963, when the song "Louie, Louie" by the garage rock band also called The Kingsmen became famous, the group elected to bill themselves as The Statler Brothers. Despite the name, only two members of the group (Don and Harold Reid) are actual brothers and none have the surname of "Statler". The band, in fact, named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they had noticed in a hotel room (they joked that they could have turned out to be the Kleenex Brothers). Don Reid sang lead. Harold Reid, Don's older brother, sang bass. Phil Balsley sang baritone and Jimmy Fortune sang tenor after replacing original tenor Lew DeWitt in the early 1980s due to the latter's ill health. DeWitt died on August 15, 1990 of heart and kidney disease, stemming from complications of Crohn's disease.
The band's style was closely linked to their gospel roots. "We took gospel harmonies," said Harold Reid, "and put them over in country music."
The group remained closely tied to their gospel roots, with a majority of their records containing at least one gospel song. They produced several albums containing only gospel music and recorded a tribute song to the Blackwood Brothers, who influenced their music. The Statler Brothers also wrote a tribute song to Johnny Cash, who discovered them. The song was called "We Got Paid by Cash", and it reminisces about their time with Cash.