The daughters of late Fairfield Four member Sam McCrary, the McCrary Sisters have become one of the most sought-after acts in Nashville — lending their talents to a diverse mix of musical projects, including those by Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Wynonna.
Regina McCrary says it’s a humbling feeling to have been called by so many artists to be a part of their records and live performances.
“It’s an honor and a blessing,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to put a little bit of who we are and our spirit on someone else’s projects. It’s a blessing to know that people know and respect what it is that we do.”
And just like their musical forefathers, the McCrary Sisters have a new record to promote — their soulful disc Let’s Go. In discussing the disc, produced by Buddy Miller, Ann McCrary said, “Buddy gave us a bunch of songs to listen to, and we narrowed it all down to what you hear on this CD. We wanted to go back to give our father tribute, so we wanted to return to that era of singing that The Fairfield Four used to do when we were little and give recognition to that — and not to forget where we came from.”
Performing together is something that has always been natural, says Ann. “The harmonies and everything are just a normal thing for us. God placed it where we have a natural soprano, alto and tenor. We have all the parts, and it’s been that way all our lives. Somebody would start a tune, and everybody would pick their note. Family harmonies are just a natural thing for us.”
Working with Miller in the studio was a dream come true, says Regina, who admits the two acts definitely click when they are around each other. “It was really unique to sit there and watch him be really creative in what he wanted to do with a song,” she said. “We would try what he wanted to do, and he’d listen to us. It was wonderful. Buddy is our brother. We love and respect him highly. It was very fun and easy to work with him. Everybody’s spirit was in one accord.”
One track from Let’s Go that has a special place in the McCrarys’ hearts is “I, John.” The song has been recorded by a wide variety of artists, including Elvis Presley and… The Fairfield Four! “I don’t know where the origin of the song comes from, but we remember that was one of the songs that The Fairfield Four did,” says Ann. “I remember that I was always fascinated with that particular song because when it gets to the ramp when it goes ‘Hallelujah,’ it just goes on and on. It tells the complete story of Revelation about how I John saw a number that no man could know. When The Fairfield Four would sing it, it would go on and on to what was in Revelation. We ended up having to cut it and give a short version.”
A new song from the album that made an impact on the group was “By the Mark.” “Buddy brought that song to us, and when we listened to the words, we knew we wanted to do it,” Regina said. “It’s a powerful song that talks about our Lord and savior and what he went through to set us free. All I can say is I am glad the Holy Spirit touched Gillian Welch to write that song. It’s an honor to be able to sing it.”
When asked why their brand of Gospel music retains its long-standing appeal and influence, Alfreda McCrary said. “We sing about everyday life situations and things that matter, no matter what your trials and tribulations might be. If you hold on and seek him first, everything will fall into place. As long as the lyrics have meaning and purpose behind them, that’s what matters. We try to sing words that have life to them, and touch heart to heart and soul to soul.”