David Stewart – August Artist Spotlight
Artist Spotlight – August 2023
If you were to come across a cabin along the banks of Clear Creek in Wyoming, you might be lucky enough to run into my August Artist Spotlight, David Stewart. David loves to sneak away there and set up the perfect writing environment with some Dr Pepper or a hazelnut latte and a good bowl of grits. David Stewart is a well-known writer that has written some great songs for both country and bluegrass artists. David started writing at very young age of 7 yrs. old after growing up with parents that owned a dance hall along with listening to plenty of country and bluegrass artists/music. While he may have grown up and graduated from Southeast High School in Bradenton, FL, David considers Buffalo, WY his hometown.
Like many learned traits or skills, David picked up the love for country and bluegrass music. As he grew older, he began finding himself liking other music as well. Bob Seger (American singer, songwriter and musician) is probably David’s number one artist, he simply loves his music. Bob Seger is from Detroit and broke into the music world in the late 1960s with the album titled Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man. Bob Seger is known for many hit songs but to give you a couple to refresh your memory, he had “Night Moves”, “Shakedown” (from soundtrack of Beverly Hills Cop II) and even “Old Time Rock and Roll”. I agree, I don’t think David is the only person that loves Bob Seger. If there was one artist that David would love to have cut one of his songs, Bob Seger would be that artist! So, Mr. Seger, if you are reading this, David would love to connect with you!
One of the most memorable moments in David’s life was spending time with Roy Acuff, “King of Country Music”, in his dressing room and having him sign some old records that dad had given him. While David was watching Roy sign the records, the room was filled with Roy singing a piece of every song while he was signing. Roy Acuff was an American Country Music Singer, fiddler and promoter who joined The Grand Ole Opry in 1928 and was the first living Inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962. David has always kept the advice, “write what you know and that a great tune is like cream, it will always find a way to the top” from Roy close to his heart. Keeping that advice in mind, David has always tried to write what he knows and feels and let the song find a home.
David Stewart doesn’t have a “signature”, so to say, with his songs. He does tend to find himself turning old country songs into something he can add dobro sounds to. David’s favorite type of songs to write are those that tell a story. After reading his book “Heart and Sole”, I can tell you that David definitely has plenty of experiences to create stories from. “Heart and Sole” is a fascinating, adventurous and suspenseful book about David Stewart’s, (The Walking Cowboy) walk from Wyoming to Nashville, TN to hopefully sing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. That period of time in 1988 was a very trying but special time in his life. Make sure to check out his website www.thewalkingcowboy.com and purchase his wonderful book “Heart and Sole”. For someone that does not like to read like myself, I could not put this book down!
The easiest part of writing for David is letting the song dictate where it needs to go and tell what it needs to say. From the point of sending a song off to an artist, he finds himself sitting on the edge of his seat until he hears what the artist does with it. Over the years he has built great relationships with some wonderful artists where he fully trusts them to bring the song/story to life for the fans. No matter what type of song David is writing, he finds that co-writing creates better songs after building relationships with the other writer(s). David may not typically write songs with artists in mind, but he is always open to writing songs with a specific style, speed and etc. for an artist if they contact him. He feels truly blessed with the awesome artists that have performed his songs. If there is any advice he would pass on to a new writer, he would tell them to “never be afraid to re-write, re-write, and re-write”.
A few of David Stewarts songs that you may have heard or need to check out:
- title track “All Grassed Up” on Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road’s collaborative album with Eddy Raven was co-written by David Stewart and Eddy Raven.
- “True Grass” (Why Can’t Bluegrass Be True Grass Again) which was recorded by Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road on the album, “True Grass Again”. This song has been talked about as the possible “anthem” for bluegrass music. After charting for months, David received a gold album for “True Grass”.
- the beautiful song “Love Is the Key”, co-written with Mark “Brink” Brinkman and recorded by The Family Sowell
- “Tennessee Rain” is a new song that was recorded by Greg Blake, Rebekah Speer and Jeff Brown.
David Stewart would have loved to have met and spend a little bit of time with Merle Haggard, well-known American Country Singer. Some may not know this, but Merle Haggard turned his life around after being released from prison in 1960. Between the years 1960s to 1980s, Merle had 38 songs that hit #1. Along with the many hits, awards and honors, Merle Haggard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and also received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2010. David would love to know if Merle was ever able to find the “Rainbow Stew”. “Rainbow Stew” was written and recorded live in June 1981 by Merle Haggard backed by The Strangers.
As mentioned at the beginning, David loves to write in a cabin on Clear Creek in Wyoming but it all wouldn’t happen without the great mentors gained over the years in the music industry. David gives a lot of credit to his mentors but his number one inspirational person in his life is his wife, Jackie. “Never had I encountered anyone like her. Falling in love with her was a blessing for me” is how David briefly described his wife in his book, “Heart and Sole”. From the beginning, Jackie supported his dreams but definitely became the rock he needed in 2000 when he got the West Nile virus. The unfortunate side effects of the virus was losing the ability to write or even play the guitar. Although he lost a few years of creating songs, it was Jackie’s encouragement every day that got David back to where he is today. Thank you, Jackie!
For over 35 years David and his wife Jackie have been working hard to maintain a huge piece of our American history. David and Jackie own the beautiful Historic Occidental Hotel located in Buffalo, WY. The “Ox” (Occidental Hotel) is a true authentic experience of the Old West. With the perfect location between The Yellowstone Park and Mt Rushmore, you can also catch a Thursday Night Bluegrass Jam Session while staying at the “Ox”. Make sure to visit email@example.com for more info about rooms, venues and events. Oh, and did I mention that the well-known show Longmire is filmed there in town? You can enjoy the old west feel in town but you can also enjoy the skiing, boating, camping, hunting, fishing, lakes, streams and mountains within a few miles. I personally cannot wait to head out there and experience it myself!
Rapid fire questions –
What is your favorite Holiday? Christmas because they always go to the mountain and cut a 12-foot tree for the Occidental Hotel.
What is your favorite saying/quote? The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.
What is your dream destination? Heaven
What state has been your favorite to do a concert/event in? Tennessee and North Carolina
What is your favorite type of car? One that runs well – LOL. You would be laughing too if you have ever talked with him regarding his book titled ‘Find a Penny, Pick it Up’.
Do you have a hobby outside of music? Loves to spend time around water and fish!
What is your favorite kind of Ice Cream? Homemade Vanilla
What is your favorite junk food? Cold Pizza
Do you have any pet(s)? Aussie dog named Jake
What is your favorite book that you read or author that you like to read? He really likes Westerns and/or anything written by Louis L’Amour
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? Tom Hanks pretty much won him over with Forrest Gump
What is your favorite movie line? “You Don’t Have to Worry Kid… I ain’t gonna kill you …. You’re the Only Friend I got” – Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood.
Announcement questions –
Keep your eyes and ears open for one of David’s own songs titled “Like A Cowboy Should” coming out soon with Turnberry Records.
Along with creating his own song to be released soon, David Stewart has written songs that will be recorded and released by the following: Dale Ann Bradley, Junior Sisk, Prairie Wildfire, Danny Paisley, Caleb Bailey, Brad Hudson, Carolina Road, Williamson Branch and Greg Blake. If that list of artists doesn’t peak your interest, you may need to re-read the list again.
Make sure to check out all the great items David Stewart has to offer on his website https://www.thewalkingcowboy.com