Born in Dallas, Tx, Stephen Stills is one of rock music's most enduring figures with a career now spanning six decades, multiple solo works, and four hugely influential groups – Manassas, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN), and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice for Buffalo Springfield and CSN, is a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and is a BMI Music Icon (with CSN). As renowned for his instrumental virtuosity as for writing era-defining anthems including "For What It's Worth" and "Love The One You're With," Stills is ranked #28 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, calling his acoustic picking on "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" "a paragon of unplugged beauty." Three of Stills' albums are among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Buffalo Springfield Again,Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Déjà Vu. In 2013, Stills released Carry On, a four-CD anthology capturing the remarkable scope of his career using 83 tracks (25 unreleased) to retrace the musical paths he's explored. Most recently, Stills toured with The Rides, his blues-rock trio with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg, behind their debut album Can't Get Enough. This year, he is on tour, solo and with Crosby, Stills & Nash. As hosts of the 2nd Light Up The Blues Concert in downtown Los Angeles, Stills and his wife Kristen recently helped raise over $320,000 to benefit Autism Speaks' research and advocacy efforts for families and individuals impacted by the disorder. Light Up The Blues, a documentary-style film recorded at last year's concert, is #2 on iTunes' Concert Films chart.
Steve Miller was a mainstay of the San Francisco music scene that upended American culture in the late '60s. With albums like Children of the Future, Sailor and Brave New World, Miller perfected a psychedelic blues sound that drew on the deepest sources of American roots music and simultaneously articulated a compelling vision of what music - and, indeed, society - could be in the years to come. Then, in the '70s, Miller crafted a brand of pure pop that was polished, exciting and irresistible - and that dominated radio in a way that few artists have ever managed. Hit followed hit in what seemed like an endless flow: "Take The Money and Run," "Rock'n Me," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jet Airliner" and "Jungle Love," among them. To this day, those songs are instantly recognizable when they come on the radio - and impossible not to sing along with. Their hooks are the very definition of indelible. Running through Miller's distinctive catalog is a combination of virtuosity and song craft. His parents were jazz aficionados - not to mention close friends of Les Paul and Mary Ford - so, as a budding guitarist, Miller absorbed valuable lessons from that musical tradition. When the family moved to Texas, Miller deepened his education in the blues, eventually moving to Chicago, where he played with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and Paul Butterfield. In recent years, Miller has immersed himself in the blues once again. And, as always, whether he was riding the top of the charts or exploring the blue highways of American music, he is playing and singing with conviction and precision, passion and eloquence, and making records that are at once immediately accessible and more than able to stand the test of time.
Larry Henley has earned dual fame as both singer and songwriter. Yet one would be hard pressed to find a common link between his two trademarks in these separate mediums; the playful gibberish indulged by Bread and Butter has little in common with the sincere sentiments of Grammy award winning Wind Beneath My Wings. Wind Beneath My Wings has evolved into a familiar slogan. Granted, its proximity to the six million mark in radio airplays makes it hard to ignore. A standard at weddings and funerals alike, it has also been material for a Playboy cartoon. Few songs offer the succinct and sincere emotional foundation that such versatility requires. The vast spectrum of artists who have recorded it gives testimony to its cultural magnitude. His other numerous hits, include Lizzie and The Rainman (Tanya Tucker), He's A Heartache (Looking For A Place To Happen) (Janie Fricke), Shotgun Rider (Delbert McClinton).
When Rod was at Baylor he started booking acts like Bob Hope and Brother Dave Gardner. Bob Hope you've heard of, and Bro. Dave had a comedy act that gave rise to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
He went to a place called Wild Willie's on a Friday night and, walking in, he had some immediate concerns. One, the air was blue from cigarette smoke, and he's a non-smoker. Two, Wild Willie's didn't take credit cards, so he had no idea how he was going to pay for an evening's tab just to listen to some dude who probably wouldn't be any good anyway. Three, the men's room didn't have a commode, it had a bathtub that served as a urinal.
He listened to the guy and introduced himself afterwards and told him that he was pretty good and he would like to do a demo on him. He found an 8-track facility and the next Friday they did four live sets, two cover and two original. They mixed them on Saturday, and on Sunday he came by the house and he gave him the reel-to-reel demo we had done, a list of his contacts in Nashville, the confirmation number of the hotel he had set up for him to stay in, and a handful of his credit cards.
He said, "Rod, I'm going to have to use these credit cards because I don't have any money". Rod told him that he had given them to him to use, and all Rod asked was that he (1) go to Nashville, (2) become a star, (3) pay him back when he could, and to (4) thank him when he won his first Grammy.
Well sir, Garth Brooks went to Nashville, became a star, paid Rod back when he could, but never thanked him when he won his first Grammy. You can read about this in "Chicken Soup for the Country Soul".
Rod's nephew, Tye Phelps, who owns the Love and War in Texas restaurants, asked him to listen to a female act playing at the Plano L&W. Rod went to listen to her, and she wasn't all that good. The other act on the bill who did impress me was a young blond from Lindale, Texas. Rod got a couple of demos from her dad, Rick Lambert, and sent them to his contacts in Nashville, mostly label heads. The rest is history.
Other folks Rod has helped over the years include Chris Cagle (whom Rod hired as nanny because he said he had no money, no job, and no place to live) and Rory Lee Feek (former DSA member of Joey and Rory fame), whom Rod moved to Nashville, along with his two daughters. He had two daughters the same age, and Rod gave Rory the downstairs master bedroom suite. Rory signed with Harlan Howard soon thereafter (one of the most prolific songwriters in Nashville history) and Rory went on to become one of the best known Christian songwriters and performers of all time, especially when he joined forces with, and married, Joey.
Rod also has had the good fortune to work with Larry Weiss ("Rhinestone Cowboy", "Bend Me, Shape Me"); Richard Leigh ("Don't you Make My Brown Eyes Blue", "Greatest Man I Never Knew"); Don Schlitz ("The Gambler"); Tommy Barnes ("Cherokee Outlaw"); Randy Boudreaux ("Goodnight Sweetheart", ""Brokenheartsville", "Alibis", "Who Needs You Baby").
Rod has helped these local folks you might recognize as DSA writers include Rory Lee Feek, David Banning, Dickie Kaiser and Steve Hood.
By simply hanging around individuals in broadcasting, Rod worked with Howard Cosell, Verne Lundquist (Rod got him his divorce from his first wife and introduced him to his second wife) and Roger Staubach, whom Rod got on the speaking tour.