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The McCrary Sisters On Mountain Stage

The McCrary Sisters on <em>Mountain Stage.</em>
The McCrary Sisters on <em>Mountain Stage.</em>

A thread that's run through Mountain Stage's 37-year history is an always open door for top shelf vocal groups stepping from the shadows – sometimes 20 feet from stardom – into the spotlight with their own works.

In 2010, Nashville's gospel royalty, The McCrary Sisters, stepped out for the first of what has now been six solo projects. That path emerged after spending decades performing glorious gospel harmonies to lift up revered artists like Isaac Hayes, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, The Black Keys, The Winans, Dr. John, Widespread Panic, Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Robert Randolph, Maren Morris and Hank Williams, Jr.

On a hot Sunday evening, the Sisters shared the bounty of their sweet-flowing gospel goodness during a Mountain Stage road show at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol Va./Tenn., the birthplace of country music.

While the band slow-boiled the blues, the Sisters tapped right into their sweet honey in the rock, wringing every morsel of universal truth out of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind" in rich, four-part harmonies.

Following a spirited offering of Gary Nicholson's "Bless'em All Y'all," the Sisters testified to the depth of their Nashville Americana and country roots, pulling out the poignant gem "Broken Pieces," written by their friend and oft visitor of Mountain Stage, Julie Miller. The Sisters stripped away instrumentation and reeled in the years for "Dig a Little Deeper," an a cappella spiritual they perform often as a loving tribute to their pops, Rev. Sam McCrary of The Fairfield Four.

"They sound like four sisters don't they," said Mountain Stage host and artistic director Larry Groce as The McCrary Sisters left the stage to thunderous applause. "You don't get harmonies any other way than a family group."

This Mountain Stage performance was originally published on June 8, 2012.

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