Music

Country Rewind: Gary Stewart's 'She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)'

Photo courtesy of Tommy Schwartz

Gary Stewart's roller-coaster life featured some amazing highs and despondent lows. The Kentucky native released more than a dozen albums and nearly 30 singles. While he charted all over the place, he only landed one Top 10 album on the country charts-- 1975's Out Of Hand (RCA Records).

But while his commercial success was tepid compared to other hitmakers of the time, that album earned him unanimous praise. Out Of Hand, for many, makes the list of the top 100 country music albums ever.

And yet, in another turn on Stewart's ride, it yielded only one No. 1 single. On May 10, 1975, "She's Acting Single" climbed to the top of the charts. That song, however, keeps him in the minds of country lovers even today. "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" represents just about everything right with honky-tonk music, especially if you're less than enthused about the most recent pop-country renaissance.

Stewart's classic, twangy vibrato yodeling out the tail of woe and heartbreak still rings true to many today.

The song was written by Wayne Carson, a Nashville songwriter better known for co-writing "Always on My Mind," a pop standard introduced to country audiences by Willie Nelson.

In addition, Ronnie Dunn covered the song in 2010 for the Country Strong soundtrack.

Though he never replicated the success of that single, Stewart trekked on to a successful career all through the 1980s. That included a minor 1977 hit, "Ten Years Of This." The tune had one huge fan in particular. In the 1990s, Bob Dylan once drove to meet Stewart and tell him how much he loved the song.

But for every critical smash, Stewart's coaster of a career dipped to a new low. He eventually embraced his more rockabilly side after battling "too rock for country" and "too country for rock" complaints. A gifted guitar player, Stewart spent most of the rest of his career touring smaller venues. He found a good home at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, in particular.

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Stewart lost his son to suicide in the late 1980s and spun further into alcoholism and drug use. By the time he cleaned up in the early 2000s, his beloved wife succumbed to pneumonia just one day before Thanksgiving in 2003.

Soon after, the distraught Stewart took his own life with a gunshot wound to the neck at the age of 59. But while he never experienced the charmed career of some of his contemporaries, Stewart left behind a trove of music that remained unmistakably his own.

"She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" Lyrics

I've seen men look at her before
And they think, I don't see
I'd like to think it makes me proud
But, I'm only fooling meI know she'll be lookin' back
The minute I'm not there
While she pours herself on some stranger
I pour myself a drink somewhere

She's actin' single
I'm drinkin' double
I hide my pain
I drown my troubles

My heart is breaking
Like the tiny bubbles
She's actin' single
I'm drinkin' doubles

I know all she plans to do
But I don't know where or when
If I ask who that stranger was
She'll just say, "an old friend"

I'm not weak, I tell myself
I stay because I'm strong
The truth is, I'm not man enough
To stop her from doing me wrong

She's actin' single
I'm drinkin' doubles
I hide my pain
I drown my troubles

My heart is breaking
Like the tiny bubbles
She's actin' single
I'm drinkin' doubles

She's actin' single
I'm drinkin' doubles
I hide my pain
I drown my troubles

This story originally ran on May 10, 2017.

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Country Rewind: Gary Stewart's 'She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)'