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We’re sorry to share that the beloved cowboy and Western singer Don Edwards has died.
Edwards got his start performing as a singing cowboy at Six Flags Over Texas. After working there for several years, Edwards left in pursuit of a record deal. He eventually landed a contract with Warner Brothers.
The singer’s first album, Happy Cowboy, was released in 1980. He went on to release 16 additional albums over the course of his career, with his final release being 2010’s American.
In addition to being a singer, Edwards played a character named Smokey the 1998 film The Horse Whisperer. He also recorded the song “Coyotes” that plays at the end of the 2005 documentary Grizzly Man.
Edwards brought a great sense of authenticity to his music. He truly understood the type of music he performed, since he was well-versed in Western history.
As the biography on his official website details:
“[A] historian, author and musicologist, unusually well-versed in cowboy lore and musical traditions, Don brings a rare complement of knowing and loving his craft. Mostly though, there is the soul of a poet, a man who has never succumbed to the temptations of presenting a glamorized or romanticized version of the West.“
He was well-respected by fellow cowboy singer Gene Autry, who once said. “I’m proud and honored to be riding the same trail as you.”
Edwards’ contributions to the Western genre were recognized when he was inducted into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 2005. He also earned a star on the Western Walk of Stars in Newhall, California.
He made a home for himself in Hico, Texas, where he established his Singin Hills Ranch. He lived there with his wife of over 45 years, Kathy.
Edwards’ official Facebook page shared his obituary, which states he was 83 at the time of his death (with a birthdate of March 20, 1939). Though other outlets have reported he was 86 when he passed away.
According to his obituary, Edwards died on Sunday (October 23) with his wife Kathy and his dogs by his side. In addition to Kathy, he is survived by daughters Courtney Gatewood and Llayne Padgett, son-in-law Richard Gatewood, grandchildren Jake Gatewood, Shelby Gatewood, Lauren Padgett, and Maddy Padgett, and sister Nancy Hezlitt.
In lieu of flowers, the family says memorials can be made to the Fairy Baptist Church at 19255 FM 1602, Hico, TX 76457. Edwards’ visitation and funeral service will be held on Thursday (October 27) at the Fairy Baptist Church.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Edwards’ family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.
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