Native Dave Kirby
BMI Award Winning Songwriter, Guitarist and Vocalist
Dave Kirby was born in
Brady, Texas, on July 10, 1938. Dave was influenced by his uncle,
legendary Hank Williams’s front man Big Bill Lister. Lister
took Dave under his wing and first introduced him to songwriting
and guitar playing at the age of eight.
Dave moved to Albuquerque,
New Mexico, in 1955. He landed a job at a local radio station
playing country music. He was influenced by the music of Carl
Smith, Mac Wiseman, Ernest Tubb and the guitar playing of Merle
Buck Owens recorded Dave’s
first song “Down By the River”. Rose Maddox the cut
the same song and shortly after Owens and Maddox recorded it as
a duet. Johnny and Jonie Mosby and Porter Wagoner also added their
vocals to Dave's compositions while he was living in New Mexico.
“During the 1960’s,
Willie Nelson used to come out to Albuquerque and he got me to
go and play in the band,” Dave recalled in a 2000 interview.
“Willie got to liking my songs, and I don’t remember
how, but Hank Cochran got to liking them too. They both wrote
me saying ‘Come to Nashville’ so in 1967, I made the
Dave signed a writing
contract with Pamper Music, which was owned in part by Ray Price.
Other writers for Pamper at this time included Roger Miller, Harlan
Howard, Nelson and Cochran.
“I got a few things
cut and then I wrote “Is Anybody Going To San Antone?”
Dave said. “It has become my biggest hit, but it just lay
there at the Pamper shelf for three years before it ever got cut.”
Charley Pride heard the song in 1970 and it became a multi million
compositions became hits for a host of entertainers including
“Wish I Didn’t Have To Miss You” by Jack Greene
and Jeannie Seely, “April’s Fool” and “You
Wouldn’t Know Love” by Ray Price, “What Have
You Got Planned Tonight Diana?” and “Sidewalks of
Chicago” for Merle Haggard, “There Ain’t No
Good Chain Gang” for Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, “Memories
To Burn” for Gene Watson, “Where Are You Going Billy
Boy?” for Bill Anderson and Mary Lou Turner, “Leavin’s
Been Coming For A Long Long Time” for George Strait and
“I’ll Go To A Stranger” for Johnny Bush.
Ray Charles, Moe Bandy,
Norma Jean, Porter Wagoner, Johnny Russell, Texas Tornadoes, George
Jones, Faron Young, Charley Walker, Johnny Rodriguez, Cal Smith,
John Anderson, Kitty Wells, Razzy Bailey, Jo-El Sonnier, Curtis
Potter, Hank Thompson and dozens more have recorded Dave's compositions.
began session work in Nashville during the early 1970’s.
His first session was with Country Music Hall of Famer Granpa
Jones. “Granpa walked in the studio and looked at me,”
Dave recalled. “I had kind of long hair and the first thing
he said was ‘Son, don’t play any of those hippie licks
on my record’.”
Dave went on to have
a very successful session career playing lead guitar for Dolly
Parton, Merle Haggard, Janie Fricke, Ringo Star, Emmylou Harris,
Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Crystal Gayle, Wynn
Stewart, Ray Price, Moe Bandy, Ronnie Milsap, Connie Smith and
Not only a successful
writer and session player, Dave also contributed many vocal recordings
of his own including “North Alabama” “Cantaloupe
Jones” “The Rumor” “Cowboy Connection”
and “Better Off When I Was Hungry.” Dave recorded
for Boone, Capitol, Dimension and Monument Records.
Dot Records released
his album “Writer, Singer, Picker” in 1973.
Dave married country music
entertainer Leona Williams in 1985. The two entertained together
throughout the country while still maintaining a heavy writing
schedule and session work.
“Dave Kirby never
realized his importance in the country music community,”
Brady, Texas, disc jockey Tracy Pitcox said. “Dave played
on virtually all of the sessions leaving Nashville throughout
the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. His songwriting is
legendary. We were very honored to recognize Dave in his hometown
for the last eight years during our ‘Dave Kirby Celebration’.”
Dave just completed work
on his first solo album in twenty years shortly before his death.
“Is Anybody Going To San Antone?” contains ten of
Kirby’s biggest writing successes and was released on Heart
of Texas Records on May 15, 2004.
Dave Kirby passed away
at his Branson, Missouri, residence on Saturday, April 17, 2004,
after a short illness. Kirby was diagnosed with multimyloma cancer
in March of 2004.