LifeNotes: “A Place To Fall Apart” Songwriter Freddy Powers Passes

Freddy Powers

Freddy Powers. Photo: Facebook.com/thefreddypowers

Songwriter, producer and ace musician Freddy Powers has died at age 84.

Powers was a confederate of such country stars as Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. His songs include the Haggard hits “A Place to Fall Apart” (1984), “Natural High” (1985), “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room” (1984) and “A Friend in California” (1986), several of which he co-wrote with the superstar.

Powers and Haggard were also among the co-writers of the 1983 George Jones hit “I Always Get Lucky With You.” Freddy Powers’ songs were also recorded by Big & Rich, Suzy Bogguss, Ray Charles and Stoney LaRue.

Among Freddy Powers’ production credits is the 1981 Willie Nelson LP Over the Rainbow, a platinum seller. He was in Nelson’s band for a time and played guitar on several albums by both Haggard and Nelson.

Like Nelson, he was came of age musically in the Texas honky tonks. In Ft. Worth, he got to know guitarist Paul Buskirk, another close collaborator with Nelson. All three men shared an affinity for expanding country’s sonic landscape to include swing and jazz.

Freddy Powers had a long residency in Las Vegas in the 1970s, performing in a nightclub act that combined country, comedy and Dixieland jazz.

After reconnecting with Nelson and co-producing his landmark LP, Powers was invited to California by Haggard. They lived on neighboring houseboats on Lake Shasta, and Powers’ songwriting abilities blossomed. He also became a guitarist in Haggard’s band for 20 years.

Songwriting success led to TV appearances on Austin City Limits and elsewhere. Freddy Powers even co-hosted a talk show for the Austin Music Network cable channel.

He issued the solo CD The Country Jazz Singer in 2000. His gypsy jazz style was also captured on such recordings as 2004’s My Great Escape.

Freddy Powers died in Texas on Tuesday, June 21, following a 12-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He founded the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization to raise funds for research and to aid fellow Texans who had the disease. He is survived by his wife Catherine.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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