Country Willie Edwards
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Country Willie Edwards

Sardis, Texas, United States

Sardis, Texas, United States
Band Country Surf Rock




"Country Willie Edwards by Murray Silver"

He still lives in the house built by his gran'pa in 1934, from wood salvaged from the house built by his great-gran'pa in 1854, cut from old growth timber dating to the late 18th century. He still picks at an old Horner guitar gifted to him by his Uncle Joe Nolan, a Louisiana Hayride star whose career ended when he got shot in the stomach at a Denny's down in Houston (got a big settlement, died of Alzheimer's, and his guitar, that was practically carved out of solid pearl, disappeared). And he still grows vegetables for a living — if you can call it a living — on the same patch of ground that his people have tilled since they came to Sardis, Texas, just south of the Big D(allas) and spittin' distance from Waxahachie, where in 1951, Jerry Lee Lewis went to bible school.

I mean, that's how a conversation with Country Willie Edwards rolls: there's lots of pee-esses and parenthetical admonitions, thoughts run together like a Hank Williams song, but, like the songs he sings, he makes his point and comes to it with a voice that rolls over the words like sorghum on a hotcake.

Willie setting up The Legendary Stardust Cowboy Willie setting up Willie setting up
Ask him why he still lives where God put him and he'll tell you “It's quiet.” Ask him what he's doing and he'll tell you he's “Clearin' cornstalks burnt up by a dry spell and shellin' peas” — with time out for a siesta during the heat of the day, during which he pulls out his trusty Alvarez and sings to the chickens. Weekend nights he sings to the locals, or sometimes ventures over to Austin to play the honky tonks and barn dances. He is self-taught on the guitar and earns enough in tips to keep the farm going. But he'd like to tour Europe some day — England, in particular — and thinks he'd make a great pairing with Murry Hammond of the Old 97's (“awesome”) and Dana Falconberry, who's part of a collective in Austin that Willie admires. But, like Willie says, Murry and Dana and all the other good musicians he knows have their own things going on, and so Country Willie Edwards is still a

Did you know that of all the singers there ever was, Willie's favorite is Slim Whitman? Here's another fun fact: Willie once attended a Louisiana Hayride reunion and saw Kitty Wells shortly before God turnt her into a Honky Tonk Angel. Kitty gave Willie her blessing along with an autograph; the first he keeps in his heart, the other he keeps framed on the wall of the house built by his gran'pa with the wood from the house built by his great-gran'pa and forested by his great-great-gran'pa.

“My Uncle Joe Nolan hated Johnny Cash,” Willie wants us to know. “Uncle Joe took me to Magnolia Gardens in Houston to see Johnny a long time ago. We went backstage afterwards and Johnny was givin' Luther Perkins a cussin'. He was usin' words that Uncle Joe had never heard before, and Uncle Joe hated Johnny Cash for it 'til the day he died (of Alzheimer's, right after his mama died of Alzheimer's; they lived together).”

Country Willie Edwards may never be famous and he's okay with that. It's a struggle being a commercial success and authentic at the same time. He's written hundreds of tunes and makes his own records in the same spirit that some folks make their own moonshine. Some people call it rockabilly and some people call it psychobilly and the more polite refer to it as “outsider” music. After all, the original outsider, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, is a pal of Country Willie's; Lady Bird Johnson once tapped her foot in time with Willie's live performance; and Miranda Lambert opened for HIM (not the other way 'round) and that's about as far “outside” as a fella from Sardis, Texas can get without ending up in Amarillo.

Dial up Country Willie's website and peruse his homemade videos. You might come to the conclusion that he's from the moon or outer know, like the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. “Everyone around here is like that,” says Willie, who fails to see just what's so “outside” about him. So don't get it twisted, it's us who's outside their heads, not Country Willie Edwards. We now return you to your regular broadcast. - Twisted South Magazine


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