Deborah McCrary, Founding Member of The McCrary Sisters, Dead at 67

by Emily Morgan

Sadly, Deborah McCrary’s name has been added to the list as yet another music star we lost this year. The incredible vocalist and member of the acclaimed group The McCrary Sisters has died at 67. 

Her family announced the tragic news on Thursday, June 2, with a press release. “It is with deep sorrow that we share the news of the passing of our beloved sister Deborah,” their statement began. 

The family has not yet released a cause of death. In 2013, she survived a severe stroke that nearly ended her career as a vocalist. However, her determination shone through. Just six months after her stroke, she returned to the stage for a performance alongside her sisters. 

“When I had my stroke, I remembered that God does things for a reason,” she recalled of the terrifying experience. “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.”

On June 17, 1954, McCrary was born as the daughter of Reverend Samuel H. McCrary, a former Baptist preacher and founding member of the gospel group known as the Fairfield Four.

As children, Deborah and her sisters, Ann, Regina, and Alfreda, were surrounded by music, thanks to their time in church. Later, they each followed their own path musically for many years. However, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the sisters decided to follow in their father’s footsteps and form their own group. 

Nashville loses major gospel music vocalist: Deborah McCrary

After releasing their debut album, Our Journey in 2010, the sisters quickly made a name for themselves for their harmonies and vocal performances. They went on to release two more studio albums as well as a live album in 2017. They also released a holiday album in 2019 with A Very McCrary Christmas. 

The Nashville-based group regularly performed at the iconic Grand Ole Opry and has shared the stage with many major country music stars, such as Eric Church, Martina McBride, Amanda Shires, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller. 

In addition, the group also makes up the members of the Americana Music Honors & Awards’ house band. They’ve provided vocals for performers, including Loretta Lynn, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile. 

The sister also supplied vocals to Carrie Underwood’s “Choctaw County Affair,” a track from her 2015 album, Storyteller. Americana artist Margo Price also asked the sisters to make a guest appearance on her song “Do Right By Me” from her 2017 album All American Made. 

Recently, Allison Russell recruited them for her track “All of the Women” from her 2021 Grammy Award-nominated album Outside Child.