Freddy Powers, legendary behind-the-scenes country musician, has died at the age of 84. The songwriter and producer battled Parkinson’s Disease for years before he passed away on June 21. Powers was considered a pillar of the outlaw country genre, blending styles of Dixieland with honky tonk.

The talented musician was born in 1931 and grew up in Seminole, Texas, getting his start in music in his own family band. He later worked with Paul Buskirk in Fort Worth, a relationship which connected him to Willie Nelson, and the rest is history.

Powers played in Nelson’s band, and later co-produced his 1981 record Somewhere Over the Rainbow. In the 1960s and 1970s, Powers and his band, the Powerhouse Four, had a Las Vegas residency at the Riviera Casino. In the '80s, Merle Haggard invited Powers to move to California, and the pair of them lived on houseboats on Lake Shasta. It was there Powers wrote several of Haggard’s No. 1 hits, including “A Place to Fall Apart.” The legends toured together, making Powers a member of Haggard’s band, the Strangers, and Powers also wrote George Jones’ “I Always Get Lucky with You,” as well as tunes for Ray Charles, Big & Rich and more.

In more recent years, Powers co-hosted a talk show on the Austin Music Network in the '90s, and released a new record in 2000 titled The Country Jazz Singer. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2004 and founded the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization, which raises funds for research and treatments for the disease.

Powers is survived by his wife, Catherine, and a GoFundMe campaign is now online to help defer funeral expenses.

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