Billy Don Burns, Outlaw Music Icon and Cult Figure.
There are all kinds of artists, but very few true Song Warriors. What does it take to be a Song Warrior? Well, it ain’t no picnic. It’s a long, hard road. You have to give every bit of yourself to the muse, and live it and breathe it until you’ve squeezed out the last breath of inspiration and gut wrenching soul. After that, you will need to find one more thing to keep you going, one more thing to write about, one more lover to love and one more song to sing. And do it again and again. That is what resonates through Billy Don’s voice and the kind of truth that comes out in his songwriting has to be lived. And no one has lived it the way Billy Don Burns has.
He’s been doing it from the time he showed up at as a youngster in Merle Haggard’s office in Bakersfield, CA and Merle was so taken with him that he put him on television that very day, to the partnership publishing company he formed with Harlan Howard. At the age of 19, he was signed on the play Hank Williams at a running show at the Grand Ole Opry. Then, of course, there was the intense project recording Paycheck in prison, as well as hanging with Willie, Waylon and the boys and you-name-it, traveling across this country on a song and a prayer. Billy Don Burns has lived it and done it all. He’s had his songs cut by many country artists including Connie Smith, Mel Tillis and Willie Nelson. Many Independent Outlaw Country artists have recorded his songs including Whitey Morgan, Brigitte London and Cody Jinx. Through drugs, hardships and music business ups and downs, he has not only survived, but every nuance in his voice manages to tell his tales with deep conviction and fluid emotion and his writing continues to be exceptional. He never once compromised himself, and while no one would dare to come up against him or mess with someone he loves (or suffer the consequences), there is not a truer heart or more loyal comrade in the business. He understands all of it. He is there for the music and for the transcendence music brings.
The thing we loved most about the late, great Hank Williams (besides that voice), was the way he made you feel what he was feeling. He cut right inside of you. That’s the same ingredient that exists in every Billy Don Burns song. Where Hank wails, Billy Don laments.
– Outlaw Magazine