Deborah McCrary, Celebrated Vocalist and Founding Member of the McCrary Sisters, Dead at 67
The McCrary family announced the news on Thursday (June 2) via a press release.
"It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of the passing of our beloved sister Deborah," their statement reads. Born June 17, 1954, McCrary was the daughter of Reverend Samuel H. "Sam" McCrary, a former Baptist preacher and founding member of the gospel group the Fairfield Four.
Deborah and her sisters, Ann, Regina and Alfreda, grew up surrounded by music and pursued their passions individually for many years. Deborah began working as a nurse, Ann picked up session work and began recording for gospel artists, while Regina became a member of Bob Dylan's touring band in the early 1980s. It wasn't until the early 2000s that the sisters followed in their father's footsteps and formed their own vocal quartet.
Following the release of their debut album Our Journey in 2010, the McCrary Sisters quickly earned praise for their stunning harmonies and powerful live performances. The group went on to release two more studio albums, as well as a live album in 2017 and their 2019 holiday record A Very McCrary Christmas.
The McCrary Sisters regularly perform at the Grand Ole Opry and have shared the stage with many major country and Americana acts, including Eric Church, Martina McBride, Amanda Shires, Steve Earle and Buddy Miller. They are also members of the Americana Music Honors & Awards' house band, providing vocals for performers including Loretta Lynn, Jason Isbell and Brandi Carlile at the event, held annually at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
The group supplied vocals to Carrie Underwood's "Choctaw County Affair," a track from her 2015 album, Storyteller. Margo Price also recruited the sisters for a guest appearance on her track "Do Right By Me" from her 2017 record All American Made. Most recently, they provided vocals on Allison Russell's moving track "All of the Women," from her 2021 Grammy Award-nominated album Outside Child.
Deborah McCrary's cause of death has not been publicly announced. In 2013, she survived a severe stroke that nearly ended her singing career. Determined to carry on, she returned to the stage for a performance alongside her sisters just six months later.
“When I had my stroke, I remembered that God does things for a reason," Deborah told the Grand Ole Opry. "That’s where I was supposed to be, with my sisters by my side. I thank God for my sisters because they’ve helped me in a lot of ways, and that whole experience gave me a deeper understanding of just how much I love being with them.”