Bill Owens, uncle and musical mentor to Dolly Parton, dies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nation songwriter Invoice Owens, who was a mentor and early songwriting associate to his niece Dolly Parton and helped begin her profession in nation music, has died. He was 85.

Parton’s publicist confirmed his dying on Wednesday, and Parton wrote a lengthy eulogy for her uncle, saying “I wouldn’t be right here if he hadn’t been there.”

Owens helped Parton on the age of 10 get her first radio efficiency on the “Cas Walker Farm and Residence Hour” radio present in Knoxville, Tennessee. He inspired her to apply her guitar and sometimes drove her to native exhibits the place she may carry out.

“It’s actually laborious to say or to know for positive what all you owe anyone in your success,” Parton wrote of her uncle. “However I can inform you for positive that I owe Uncle Billy an terrible lot.”

They wrote songs collectively, together with Parton’s very first single “Pet Love,” which got here out in 1959 when Parton was simply 13. Owens finally began taking her to Nashville to pitch songs to report labels and publishing corporations.

Owens and Parton had been signed as songwriters by Fred Foster, a legendary nation producer, to his publishing firm Mix Music, and Foster signed Parton as an artist to his Monument Information label in 1965.

Parton and Owens wrote the track “Put It Off Till Tomorrow,” which might change into a prime 10 hit for Invoice Phillips. Parton can also be singing backup vocals in that recording. It was named BMI track of the 12 months in 1966. Phillips would additionally report one other track they wrote known as “The Firm You Preserve.”

Owens wrote songs recorded by Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs and Kris Kristofferson. He was additionally a touring musician and backed up Parton in her early years in Nashville.

Owens additionally labored at Parton’s Dollywood theme park as a performer and his ardour was restoring the native chestnut tree to the Nice Smoky Mountains area. Parton stated that he and his spouse Sandy planted 70,000 timber on Dollywood property over his lifetime.

“He was humorous, pleasant and beneficiant,” Parton stated. “He at all times had a sort phrase for everyone and gave good recommendation to younger folks beginning within the enterprise.”

Copyright 2021 The Related Press. All rights reserved.

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