Facebook/Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association
You may not know his name very well, but you most definitely know his work.
Freddy Powers played rhythm guitar in Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers for 20 years.
He was also known as a very accomplished songwriter, mostly writing with and for Haggard. Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and George Jones also recorded Freddy Powers-penned songs.
Haggard always spoke very highly of Powers.
“When he was at his peak, he was the most energetic individual,” Haggard told The Austin Chronicle in 2008. “Anytime either of us would mention anything that we wanted to do – hell, build an airplane or play music – we did it. We bought a nightclub; we built houseboats. We wrote number one songs. We accomplished a lot of things. Freddy and I share some gorgeous memories.”
Powers was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2004, and it quickly progressed over the next few years.
In 2006, he founded the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization, which benefits Texans with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers while educating the public about the disease and raising money for research.
Mary Sarah, a finalist on the latest season of The Voice seemed to have had an extremely close relationship with Powers.
“Just lost my second father today.” she wrote on Facebook on Tuesday (June 21). “He was a man who never thought about himself but others. He taught me to trust myself, to give, to give it all every time, to love, and so much more. He believed in me when no one else would. He opened his arms and took me under his wing and I will forever be grateful. I would not be the woman I am today without the love and support from Freddy Powers and his beautiful wife, Catherine.”
She included several pictures of them together throughout the years. Haggard’s son, Noel, also paid tribute to his father’s good friend.
“Sending prayers to Catherine Powers,” he wrote. “So sorry to hear about Freddy Powers. I was so sorry to hear [we] lost another great musician and friend”.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Catherine, and his family during this time of grief.
Watch Powers perform with Haggard and Nelson below.
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