Dave Kirby

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Best known for co-authoring the immortal "(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone," singer/songwriter and session guitarist Dave Kirby was born in Brady, TX, on July 10, 1938. He was a natural musician and took…
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Best known for co-authoring the immortal "(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone," singer/songwriter and session guitarist Dave Kirby was born in Brady, TX, on July 10, 1938. He was a natural musician and took up the guitar while still a young boy, encouraged by a family that included more than its share of musicians, among them his uncle, Big Bill Lister, who often opened shows for Hank Williams and played with the Drifting Cowboys. When Lister played local gigs in Texas, he began bringing his nephew -- then age seven -- on-stage to play. Kirby began his formal performing career in 1955, relocating to Albuquerque and playing country music at a local radio station. In time, he also began composing his own songs, and in 1963 Buck Owens recorded his "Down by the River"; soon Rose Maddox and Porter Wagoner cut their renditions of Kirby's songs as well, and Kirby also spent a year playing guitar in Willie Nelson's band during the early '60s. Nelson and Hank Cochran were both instrumental in convincing Kirby to move to Nashville, and he finally made the leap in 1967, becoming a sought-after session guitarist. More importantly, Kirby also signed on with Ray Price's publishing firm, Pamper Music, working alongside Nelson and Cochran as well as Roger Miller and Harlan Howard. He even signed to Fred Foster's Monument Records as a solo act, scoring the hit "Her and the Car and the Mobile Home" in 1969.

Written with Glenn Martin in 1967, "(Is Anybody Going To) San Antone" lay dormant for three years before Charley Pride reluctantly agreed to cut the song; it became his third number one hit, topping the charts for two weeks in early 1970. Hits for Merle Haggard ("Sidewalks of Chicago"), George Jones and Tammy Wynette ("God's Gonna Getcha [For That]"), Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings ("There Ain't No Good Chain Gang"), and Gene Watson ("Memories to Burn") followed, and in all Kirby wrote in excess of 300 songs, recorded by everyone from Ray Charles to Kitty Wells to Faron Young. In 1973 Dot issued a solo album, This Is Dave Kirby: Singer, Picker, Writer. In 1985 Kirby wed Haggard's former wife Leona Williams, and together they settled in Branson, MO, regularly performing at the tourist town's myriad dinner theaters. He died April 17, 2004, with his first new album in two decades, Mr. Songwriter, appearing posthumously a few months later.