Wednesday 10/5/21 12pm ET: Feature Artist: B.W. Stevenson

Louis Charles “B.W.” Stevenson (October 5, 1949 – April 28, 1988) was an American country pop singer and musician, working in a genre now called progressive country. “B.W.” stood for “Buckwheat”. Stevenson was born in Dallas, Texas and attended W.H. Adamson High School with other musicians Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Larry Groce.

Stevenson performed and was taped for the intended pilot of Austin City Limits on October 13, 1974. However, the recording quality was deemed too poor to broadcast. Willie Nelson’s performance taped the following night was aired as the first episode of the program.

Stevenson’s biggest hit was “My Maria”, co-written with Daniel Moore. “My Maria” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending September 29, 1973 and was covered later by Brooks & Dunn, for whom it was a three-week No. 1 country hit in mid-1996. Among Stevenson’s other singles are “The River of Love” (#53), “Down to the Station” (#82), and the original version of Daniel Moore’s “Shambala” (#66); a cover version by Three Dog Night, reached No. 3.

Stevenson recorded one Contemporary Christian album. titled Lifeline, produced by Chris Christian, his neighbor in Beverly Hills, and it had success on Christian radio with the hit “Headin’ Home”. His album Rainbow Down the Road was completed posthumously and included a duet with Willie Nelson on “Heart of the Country”. Author Jan Reid devotes a chapter to Stevenson in his book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, dubbing him “The Voice”.

Stevenson died following heart valve surgery after developing a staph infection at the age of 38. Since his death, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas has held an annual songwriting competition in his memory.