Billy Joe Walker Jr.

Billy Joe Walker Jr., a guitarist and producer who worked with such country music artists as Travis Tritt, the Dixie Chicks, and rock ’n’ roll’s Beach Boys, died Tuesday, July 25, 2017, in Kerrville, Texas, according to multiple news sources. He was 65.

According to Country Music Television, Walker had been in ill health for a long time.

As a producer, Walker worked with Pam Tillis, Mark Chesnutt, and Billy Ray Cyrus. He produced the first three Bryan White albums and the Travis Tritt album “Down the Road I Go,” which went platinum.

Walker was also a songwriter who penned “I Wanna Dance With You,” which was a No. 1 hit for singer Eddie Rabbitt. He wrote songs that were recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Tanya Tucker.

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Walker was born Feb. 29, 1952, in Midland, Texas. He taught himself to play the guitar and read music. He left home at 14 to pursue a music career in Oklahoma City. He then made his way to Los Angeles, where he became a noted session guitarist. He did session work for the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, and Merle Haggard.

He moved to Nashville and was a sideman for the Dixie Chicks, Ray Charles, Hank Williams Jr. and many others.

Walker released seven solo albums in the jazz/new age category. His highest charting album was “Warm Front,” released in 1993.

Tritt remembered his friend on social media:

“I'm so devastated to learn that my long time producer, Billy Joe Walker Jr., passed away this morning. Such a brilliant talent gone too soon”!

White also paid tribute to Walker on social media:

“Devastated and heartbroken at the loss of my longtime producer, champion, and dear friend, Billy Joe Walker Jr. I have no words. Billy is the reason I came to Nashville many years ago. Billy believed in me so much that he sacrificed his time and finances to help me get started. One of the greatest guitarists and musical people I've ever known. A beautiful soul. I'll never forget you. Billy I love you pal” - B

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