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These artists were the backdrop of my younger years; their melodies were unparalleled

The Statler Brothers, known for their impactful presence in American country and gospel music, left a lasting mark with their profound harmonies and classic style. Their version of “How Great Thou Art” particularly highlights their vocal skill and their distinctive approach to timeless hymns, offering a fresh take on the revered song and demonstrating their exceptional ability to harmonize.

The band, established in 1955 with members Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Jimmy Fortune, and Don Reid, derived their name from a tissue brand, contrary to the common belief of an association with the Statler Hotel. Initially rooted in gospel, they soon made a name in country music, celebrated for their coherent harmonies and meaningful lyrics.

The hymn “How Great Thou Art,” with origins in a Swedish melody and a poem by Carl Boberg, gained an English version thanks to Stuart K. Hine, who also added new verses. While many artists have covered this hymn, the Statler Brothers’ rendition stands out for its emotional depth and the group’s signature harmonization.

Their interpretation not only showcases their harmonizing talent but also their knack for conveying the song’s deep spiritual themes. The hymn’s message, marveling at the wonders of creation and divine mercy, is intensified by the group’s heartfelt performance, making it a source of inspiration and awe.

The Statler Brothers were trailblazers in blending traditional and modern elements in gospel and country music, setting the stage for the evolution of country music in the late 20th century. Their style, merging gospel harmony with country narratives, has influenced countless following artists.

Their harmonious sound was more than a musical technique; it reflected their strong bond and collective spirit, evident in their music and performance, enhancing their sound with an underlying sense of unity and friendship.

Their enduring influence in country and gospel music is a testament to their innovative approach to harmony and storytelling. Their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” is just one piece of their vast repertoire that continues to resonate with audiences and artists.

In essence, the Statler Brothers’ take on “How Great Thou Art” exemplifies their musical prowess and artistic sensitivity. Their work respects musical traditions while also innovating within their genres, securing their place as a respected and beloved figure in American music history, cherished for their contributions to the country and gospel genres.

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