AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 17: Keith Gattis performs in concert during the "Mack, Jack & McConaughey Present Jack Ingram & Friends" concert at ACL Live on April 17, 2015 in Austin, Texas.
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Keith Gattis, Country Artist and Hitmaker for George Strait and More, Dies at 52


Keith Gattis, the writer of Texas country standard "El Cerrito Place," died on Sunday (April 23). The Tennesseean reported that the Johnson City, Texas-born singer, songwriter and producer was killed in a tractor accident at his Nashville home.

In the early '90s, Gattis was a traditionalist singer-songwriter in Nashville with a major label deal. His debut single, 1996's "Little Drops of My Heart" was a minor hit, stalling just outside of the Top 50.

Gattis also worked as a composer and guitarist with George Jones, Sara Evans and Dwight Yoakam. The latter gig followed Gattis' early aughts move from Nashville to Los Angeles.

"Keith in addition to being a fantastically talented Texas born guitar 'slinger,' singer and songwriter, had as pure a musical soul as anyone I ever met," shared Yoakam on Twitter.


Gattis moved back to Nashville in 2006. During this stay, he found his greatest success yet as a sought-after songwriter. Kenny Chesney upped Gattis' demand after recording two of the Texan's songs for the 2012 album Welcome to the Fishbowl: Top 15 hits "El Cerrito Place" and "I'm a Small Town." "El Cerrito Place" was first recorded in 2004 by Charlie Robison. George Strait cut Gattis originals, as well, most notably the singles "I Got a Car" and "Let It Go." Other old souls gravitated toward Gattis compositions, such as Wade Bowen, Brandy Clark and Jon Pardi.

Per a quote shared by the Tennessean, Gattis achieved his life goals.

"I got lucky and had a little success," he said. "It got me enough money to pay off debts, get square with the tax man [and] put a down payment on my house. I thought I was going to be a star, but I never really wanted that. I wanted a great career so I could play music for the rest of my life, and that's what I've ended up with."

Gattis is survived by his wife Penny and their children Delaney and McKenzie.


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