At a Christmas party in 2015, three women who had never sung together before decided to sing a song. With guitar in hand, Jennifer McCarter said, “Let’s do He Touched Me”, an old hymn she somehow knew the other gals would know. She started strumming the guitar and Jennifer, Etta Britt and Donna Beasley started singing. The sound that flowed through the room was magical and the ladies knew immediately something wonderful was happening. It was a blend of harmony that said “Sisters” and Them Rubies was born.
Donna Beasley was born in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Like so many singers and artists, she grew up singing in church and was well known locally as a soloist by her teen years. Donna's musical path derailed when she decided to pursue an academic career, completing a Master of Arts degree in Psychology. But music always calls it’s children home. Donna pawned an old wedding ring, bought her first guitar, and started writing songs. She moved to Nashville in 2004.
Donna collaborated with artist, Elizabeth Cook, who has described Donna as "a rare, pure contemporary extension of the musical legacy of Appalachia. There's a dark ruby in her voice and the forlorn perspective of hope in the face of oppression in her pen."
Donna has recorded and self-released two records, Good Samaritan (2007) and Under the Rushes (2010). Renowned music critic and historian, Robert Oermann, described Under the Rushes as an "excellent example of song craftsmanship."
C.M. Wilcox, of Country California/The 9513, raved, "Bruce Robison, Radney Foster - at her best, Beasley is that caliber of writer."
It all started with a hairbrush for Etta Britt. Born Melissa Prewitt, Etta would spend hours at her bedroom mirror, belting out Supremes songs into her Stanley hairbrush. Harmony singing was her first love and always will be. Born in Lancaster, Ky, Melissa first became Etta at age 11, thanks to her little sister. "She called me Etta and I called her Myrna. We don't know why. It could've been a couple of old ladies in our hometown out in the country. We don't know."
In 1978, Melissa joined Dave Rowland and Sue Powell in the country-music trio Dave & Sugar. She stayed with the trio from 1979 to 1985, during which time they received CMA Vocal Group of the Year nominations five years in a row. They toured with Kenny Rogers, Dottie West and Conway Twitty, among many others. The experience led to countless TV appearances -- everything from Pop! Goes the Country and Solid Gold to the Dinah Shore Show and Dance Fever.
She spent much of the 80's performing in Nashville, where she met and married guitar great, Bob Britt. They soon became a family with two children. Etta put her career on the back burner and took many jobs including cleaning houses, waiting tables and selling real estate. Although she never gave up her dream of one day performing for a living, she was resolved in the fact that her time had come and gone since she was in her fifties. That all changed over lunch with Sandy Knox when Sandy approached her at the age of fifty-three inviting her to sign with her new label Wrinkled Records. Etta jumped at the chance.
The release of "Out of the Shadows" brought much attention. Etta was a 55 year old with her very first record deal. Etta was featured in the Huffington Post with an article for Marlo Thomas.com. The article went viral and landed on the front page of AOL.com which lead to Etta being featured on "The Today Show". Being released from the label in 2013, Etta self released her second album “Etta does Delbert”. In Dec 2015, Etta released her autobiography, “Backroads & Spotlights”.
Jennifer McCarter also grew up in the Smoky Mountains, surrounded by mountain music. Continuing the tradition of her musical heritage, at age 7, Jennifer taught herself how to clog and by 13, she and her sisters performed nightly at a nearby theater. Following her heart’s desire to sing, at age 14, Jennifer taught herself to play guitar and her sisters joined in on harmony. While other kids her age were listening to pop music, Jennifer was in the basement of her mountain home, with a portable record player, singing along to country legends like Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Bill Monroe. This environment shaped her voice and ear for music and she grew into the unique artist that she is today.
Jennifer’s passion for country music led her to Nashville. Her tenacity and persistence paid off in August of 1986 when she and her sisters were granted a live audition for Nashville producer, Kyle Lehning. That audition led to a phone call from Warner Bros. Records and by March 1987, Jennifer and her sisters were signed to the label. After charting several hits with Warner Bros., including The Gift, Timeless and True Love and Up and Gone, (ranked at numbers 8, 5 and 4, respectively, on the Billboard charts), Jennifer became known for her superb song choices and authentically country voice. Many major artists took note of the girls from East TN, including Randy Travis and Kenny Rogers, who invited them on tour with them. The McCarters were featured often on The Grand Ole Opry and many other television shows, including “The American Music Awards,” “The Dolly Show,” “Hee-Haw,” and multiple appearances on TNN’s “Nashville Now.” After years of touring with major artists, performing in 18 countries, Jennifer has garnered a loyal following of thankful listeners who appreciate her unique ability to find songs with a great melody and meaningful lyrics. Whether performing with a full band or just an acoustic set, Jennifer McCarter is always a great entertainer and true to her country roots.
Them Rubies Official Website