“Billy Don Burns.” To those country fans that know the name, it looms large. But the truth of the matter is, not many know the name. They know the names of Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck—two men who Billy Don Burns has produced albums for. They know Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash—two acquaintances of Burns who on separate occasions, wrote touching letters for him.
The most defining element to any great song or album is when the writer or singer is captured sharing something very personal with the audience. It could be something heart-wrenching, or it could be something happy. It could be a story, or a message, or something learned or realized. But either way, it has to be one human conveying something very personal to another.
Around the passing of The Possum in 2013, I remember the news of his widow Nancy setting up an endowment and scholarship fund for MTSU in the name of George Jones. What I didn’t know, and what has gone somewhat under-reported, is that the passing of George and the endowment encouraged the faculty of MTSU to enter a class on the life of George Jones into the school’s curriculum.
Beverley Keel, Bobby Braddock, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones, George Strait, Harlan Howard, Jim Lauderdale, Lee Ann Womack, MTSU, Odie Blackmon, The Desert Rose Band, The Grand Ole Opry, The Louisiana Hayride