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I was raised on these guys’ music. They top my list of favorites, with every melody hitting just right

The Statler Brothers, an American country music quartet, made significant contributions to the genre with their gospel influences and tight harmonies. Among their extensive repertoire is a rendition of the hymn “How Great Thou Art,” which showcases their vocal harmony and reverence for gospel music traditions.

“How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody and a poem written by Carl Boberg in Sweden in 1885. It was translated into English by the British missionary Stuart K. Hine, who added two verses of his own. The hymn has been covered by numerous artists over the years, but The Statler Brothers’ version stands out for its rich vocal harmonization and emotional depth, reflecting their gospel music roots.

The Statler Brothers, originally formed in 1955, included Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Lew DeWitt, and Don Reid. They began their career performing gospel music but gained fame as a country act. Their name was inspired by a brand of facial tissue they noticed in a hotel room (they joked about being brothers, and the Statler brand sounded classy). Despite the name, only two members of the group, Harold and Don Reid, were actual brothers.

Their harmony style was influenced by gospel quartets and the traditional country music of the time. The Statler Brothers were known for their four-part harmonies, with Harold Reid’s bass and Phil Balsley’s baritone grounding the quartet, Lew DeWitt’s tenor providing brightness, and Don Reid’s lead vocals offering clarity and emotion. This blend of voices made their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” particularly moving and memorable.

Throughout their career, The Statler Brothers received numerous awards, including three Grammy Awards and nine Country Music Association awards. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008, testament to their influence in both genres.

Their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” not only highlights their vocal skills but also their ability to convey the spiritual message of the hymn. The performance is characterized by a reverential tone, with each member contributing to a harmonious and uplifting experience. This hymn, in the hands of The Statler Brothers, becomes a profound expression of awe and worship, embodying the hymn’s message of the greatness of God.

The Statler Brothers’ music, particularly their gospel-inspired tracks like “How Great Thou Art,” has left a lasting legacy in the world of country and gospel music. Their harmonious delivery and heartfelt performances have endeared them to generations of listeners, cementing their place as icons in American music history.

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