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Country Rewind: Daron Norwood's Definitive 'Cowboys Don't Cry'

The late Daron Norwood's shortened yet rewarding run as a mainstream recording artist includes the most famous version of '90s' honky-tonk deep cut "Cowboys Don't Cry."

The Jim Allison, Doug Gilmore, Bob Simon and Jeff Raymond co-write was first recorded in 1991 by Dude Mowrey, a Mel Tillis protege with a clear affinity for George Strait's vocal delivery. While that lesser-known recording is good in its own right, the song reached its full potential when Norwood recorded it for his self-titled 1994 debut album for Giant Records.

There's something about Norwood's resonant vocal style that really brings the feelings of this tale of heartbreak and self-denial to life. It's about a man who's trying to convince himself that he's too tough to cry over a lost lover, but it's hard to believe that even someone with a Texas-sized ego would believe what the narrator's telling himself. The music video embellishes this story while celebrating '90s fashion, from multi-colored cowboy shirts to knock-off Emmitt Smith jerseys.

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Norwood, a native of Lubbock, had a solid run in '94 and '95 behind this song, future Lari White hit "Ready, Willing and Able," "If It Wasn't For Her I Wouldn't Have You" and the best music video you might've missed, "Bad Dog, No Biscuit." He stepped away from his music career in 1995 to curb his drinking habit before returning in the early-aughts with a handful of recordings and the 2012 album I Still Believe.

Tragically, Norwood was discovered dead in his Hereford, Texas apartment on July 22, 2015 at the age of 49.  The Associated Press reported he was last seen the previous night by friends. Hereford police spokesperson, Capt. Kirsten Williams, stated on July 23 that Norwood's body showed no signs of trauma and that investigators did not suspect foul play. Williams further stated that cause of death was still pending.

"Cowboys Don't Cry" Lyrics

Why's that old jukebox keep playin'
That sad country song all night long
So pour me a lone star
Tonight I'll be drinkin' alone, all alone
She said we'd never part...she never broke my heart

And there ain't a cow in Texas
And Wheaties ain't for breakfast
Late at night she'll never cross my mind
There ain't no rose of San Antone
And I can make it on my own
These can't be tears in my eyes
'Cause cowboys don't cry

Why's that old radio playin'
That same country song as I drive along
Guess by now she knows that she
Was the one who was wrong, all along
Bet she's missing me tonight...
Bet she'd like to make things right

And there ain't a cow in Texas
And Wheaties ain't for breakfast
Late at night she'll never cross my mind
There ain't no rose of San Antone
And I can make it on my own
These can't be tears in my eyes
'Cause cowboys don't cry

I said there ain't a cow in Texas
And Wheaties ain't for breakfast
Late at night she'll never cross my mind
There ain't no rose of San Antone
I can make it on my own
These can't be tears in my eyes
'Cause cowboys don't cry

Because cowboys don't cry

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This article was originally published on Aug. 8, 2018.

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Country Rewind: Daron Norwood's Definitive 'Cowboys Don't Cry'