How a country music legend got his start in Lakeland

By | November 18, 2022

Singer and songwriter David Wills has had his huge break in Lakeland.

by Matt Wright

I’ve at all times liked the tales of Paul Harvey. How he unraveled somebody’s previous and defined why it ought to matter to his listeners. Or, as he would put it on the finish, “now you already know the remainder of the story”. David Wills, a rustic musician and songwriter with 5 a long time within the enterprise, has an analogous story. And this story would not have a starting with out Lakeland.

Mr. Wills, who known as me from Nashville on Thursday morning to speak about his profession and his new album, instantly requested me about Lakeland. He was curious to know what had modified since his final go to right here in 1974. “Slightly,” I stated. Mr. Wills, a local of Pulaski, TN, stated that with out Lakeland, particularly a expertise present held on the outdated Lakeland amusement park in 1974, his life may need been completely different. He stated in hindsight it was “only a god factor” as a result of he did not even have the cash to enter the competition. “I lived in Memphis and labored within the males’s division at (Park’s) Belk. I used to be enjoying native golf equipment in Southaven (MS) and locations like that. I came upon concerning the expertise present in Lakeland, however I did not have the $15 to enter, so my neighbors paid the charges for me,” he stated. This Lakeland expertise present is the place Mr. Wills’ life modified endlessly.

David Wills has been within the nation music trade for nearly 5 a long time. Picture courtesy of Wesley Fricks.

Not solely did David please the group that night time in Lakeland, however he additionally impressed a gentleman by the title of Sy Rosenberg who was in attendance. Mr. Rosenberg was a longtime lawyer in Memphis, however he was additionally the supervisor of one other well-known nation musician, Charlie Wealthy. “After I completed performing on the expertise present, a person carrying a big cowboy hat and smoking what gave the impression to be a foot-long cigar approached me,” Mr. Wills recalled. This man was Sy Rosenberg. “He requested me if I needed to be a star and I stated, inform me the place to signal!” Inside weeks, David Wills was signed to Epic Information and nearly instantly started touring the nation with Charlie Wealthy and enjoying locations like Madison Sq. Backyard.

In 1975 David moved to Nashville however continued to tour as a gap act for Charlie Wealthy and plenty of others, enjoying his hit music as There is a music on the Jukebox, which was his first high 10 report in America. However a mid-air collision with one other aircraft in 1986 made him need to get off the street. “Luckily, we survived that aircraft crash, however the different aircraft did not,” he stated. “I made the choice to get off the street and actually concentrate on songwriting.” This dedication to songwriting, together with companion Invoice Shore, has created among the finest nation songs you’ve got heard within the final 40 years. He wrote songs for legendary nation artists like George Strait, John Schneider (Bo of Dukes of Hazard), Keith Whitley, John Michael Montgomery, Patty Loveless, Sawyer Brown, and plenty of extra. He even wrote one for a man you may need heard of, Garth Brooks. “Invoice and I wrote a music known as Wild horses that lots of the high artists needed to report,” he stated. When Garth Brooks heard the music, he instructed David, “If you’d like this music for me, I promise I will put it on my subsequent album,” David agreed, and Wild horses ended up being successful for Garth Brooks promoting 24 million data worldwide.

After 5 a long time, Mr. Wills remains to be recording music as we speak. His new album The singer The songwriter is now out there. Picture courtesy of Wesley Fricks.

Each singer and songwriter, David needed to return to his roots as a performer. He simply launched a model new album, aptly titled The singer The songwriter. “I recorded all of my outdated hits with all the A-team gamers right here in Nashville,” he stated. Her bonus observe on the brand new album, Poor boys, is already doing effectively and he thinks music followers will benefit from the album. “I believe folks shall be completely happy after they hear it,” he stated. You should buy the album on his web site, davidwillsmusic.comor you’ll be able to stream it on all widespread music companies like iTunes and Amazon.

After half-hour of calling, I did not really feel like I used to be adequately protecting Mr. Wills’ life within the nation music enterprise. “You can write a ebook,” I stated. “Oh imagine me, we’re solely scratching the floor of the tales I may inform,” he stated. Perhaps he’ll write a ebook at some point, I do not know. One factor I do know, none of this could have occurred if he hadn’t entered a expertise present in Lakeland, TN in 1974.

And now you already know the remainder of the story.