by Katie Crowder
Since Billy Lawson was 8 years old, music has been the fuel to his existence. As a boy, beer joints and small stages were where he found his voice. One of his most fond memories tells the story of 8-year-old Billy at Little Ponderosa in “Rascal Town,” Tennessee, where the owner of the club, WR Morris, jokingly boasts that he discovered Billy.
With musical talent comes performance and recordings. In 1988, at Epic Records, Billy was the first to record “Friends in Low Places,” the catchy tune made famous by two-time Grammy-winning country music artist Garth Brooks. Along with “Friends in Low Places,” Billy also recorded Alan Jackson’s first hit, “Blue Blooded Woman” and shortly after, received a thank you from Alan himself for recording it.
Loving music is one thing, but working in the music industry is something only a few can claim. Billy’s start in the music industry came rather unconventionally. Terry Woodford, Wishbone’s original owner, needed a helping hand on a project but lacked the room to hire Billy. One day as Billy was riding along with his bandmate to on-the-job training, he was offered an opportunity for a small job which also required the same on-the-job training. A month later, as Billy was still looking for a job, he remembered the benefits of that same on-the-job training, and how they would assist in payment if he could just get someone to hire him. So, Billy gave a call back to Terry Woodford, and the rest is history. Billy became the musician he is today by way of a blue-collar on-the-job training course and has never looked back.
Billy’s musical career has taken many different roads. These avenues and music ventures have brought him to where he is now, owning and recording in Wishbone Studios. Billy calls Muscle Shoals home, where he continues to feed his musician’s soul by assisting other artists as well as continuing in his own craft.