Mickey Newbury (1940–2002) grew up in Houston and moved to Nashville in the early 1960s, following his muse. He wrote top hits for many well-known artists, including Don Gibson, Andy Williams, Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, and others. He is probably best known, however, for being name-checked in the song “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings. Newbury has been cited by Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, and many other eminent singer-songwriters as a primary influence.
In his own independent fashion, Newbury helped to loosen the grip maintained for decades by the Nashville studio system, thus paving the way for later innovators like Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, and others. He is still the only songwriter to produce hits on four different charts in the same year in 1968: “Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition was In)” on the pop/rock charts, “Sweet Memories” on easy listening, “Time Is a Thief” on the R & B charts, and “Here Comes the Rain, Baby” in country.
Following the successful pattern established in his previous works on Townes Van Zandt and Ray Wylie Hubbard, veteran music journalist Brian T. Atkinson has interviewed artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and many others to learn how Newbury’s influence continues to shape the musical and artistic approach of both seasoned and newer performers. Forewords by Larry Gatlin and Don McLean set the stage for a fascinating look back at one of the most revered songwriters and musicians of recent decades.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press