Have you heard, The Royal Guardsmen are back together?  They will perform on a cruise ship later this year.  If you want to take a cruise and meet The Royal Guardsmen too, this is your chance to do just that!  I will post the time and place to EVENTS, in the near future. 


    Because almost no band exists today, in its original state, allow me to point out, original drummer John Burdett, who works for a college in Michigan, is not currently with the band, nor is lead singer Barry Winslow, who lives in Missouri and has a Gospel Music career.  Sadly, guitarist and inspirational member, Tom Richards passed away in 1979 from a brain tumor.  Tom Richards married John Burdett's cousin!  Tom's buried in Florida, the birthplace of The Royal Guardmen band. 


    Speaking of birthplace, did you know, two of The Royal Guardsmen were born in the same city, but NOT in Florida.  In reply to an e-mail question in 2009 John Burdet informed me, band members Barry Winslow and Chris Nunley were born in Owensboro, Kentucky.  (Both sing vocals too!)  It wasn't until they met at Lake Weir High School in Lake Weir, Florida, they stumbled upon this interesting birthplace fact.  It's a small world!  


    I made this interesting discovery, because I lived in Owensboro, Kentucky, when the band was popular.  An untrue rumor claimed the two had attended a rival Junior High School, a few years earlier, before moving to Florida.  Sorry, Owensboro, like Johnny DeppBarry Winslow and Chris Nunley were born in Owensboro, but moved on to Florida.  The rest is history, as they say.  A certain less famous writer, of this piece, moved to Florida from Owensboro, Kentucky, too.  ;-)




    I have been blessed with the unique pleasure of meeting a few stars in my lifetime.  Gary Stewart was one such star, with an odd twist.  Gary Stewart wasn't a star, when I met him.  In fact, he hadn't recorded a 45 or album, when I met him.  Gary Stewart was sitting in someone's living room, in Owensboro, Kentucky, the day I met him.  He sang for a while, talked of going to Nashville, Tennessee to record, and otherwise, seemed like a nice guy.  Very much like a lot of guys I met growing up in Kentucky, who loved to sing and play Country Music.


    If you are a Country Music fan and have never heard of Gary Stewart, I'm not surprised.  Some call Gary Stewart an Outlaw Country singer, like the more famous Outlaw Country artists Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.  Others call Gary Stewart a Honky Tonk King, for he seemed happiest singing for people, in small clubs or bars, often called Honky Tonks.  Although well-known, Gary Stewart was never famous, in the traditional sense, of famous Country Music stars.  Put aside for a moment, Gary Stewart's own Country chart hits and you find him playing piano in Charley Pride's band or doing a piano duet with Mickey Gilley.  As this makes obvious, Gary Stewart was a man of immense talent, held in great respect by his fellow artists.  Yet, as is too often the case in entertainment, Gary Stewart had a self-destructive side.  Eventually this side of him, ended his life.


    Before I get to that, allow me to mention some of my favorite Gary Stewart songs, although not necessarily, his highest charting songs.  I believe it was in the mid to late 1960s Gary Stewart recorded, You're Not The Woman, You Used To Be; my personal favorite by him.  She's Acting Single, I'm Drinking Double, is another fine Gary Stewart song, from his chart years, if my research is correct.  Despite being a non-drinker, I also enjoy the song, I Had To Get Drunk Last Night.  Just those titles tell you Gary Stewart is a Honky Tonk singer; an excellent one, in Gary's case.  Possibly my second favorite Gary Stewart song, is his version of a Jerry Jeff Walker tune called, Backslider's Wine.  You can look those and others up on YouTube or request them from Mason Ramsey on JST KLSX.


    After years of alcohol and drug abuse, the unfortunate death of his teenage son, and the pneumonia related death of his long time beloved wife, Gary Stewart had had enough of this world.  Gary took his own life on December 16, 2003, where he resided in Florida.   However, that's not how I want you to remember this Jenkins, Kentucky native, who came across the State of Kentucky (by way of Florida, where his family had moved by then), so our paths would cross in Owensboro, Kentucky, leading to this post, all these years later. 


    I prefer you remember Gary Stewart the way I remmber him.  Gary Stewart was a polite, humble person, who believed in his talent.  Although I was a young boy, when introduced to Gary, he treated me as his equal.  He was a gentleman, although only in his early 20s.  No doubt, he was a troubled young man, already.  He showed only his kind side.  I will always respect meeting that side of Gary Stewart, for I believe that's the person, Gary Stewart, really wanted to be.  His music is his legacy.  That's something I want you to get to know about Gary Stewart too.  Gary Stewart was a Country Music maverick, but he knew and felt something personal about people and music, few people ever do.  Listen to the way he sings his songs.  You will understand what I mean.