Talented guitarist, songwriter and producer Freddy Powers has died at the age of 84.
For over 20 years, Powers played rhythm guitar in Merle Haggard's band The Strangers and formed a close friendship with the singer. For a period of time in the early 1980s, Powers and Haggard lived next to one another on custom-built houseboats in California's Lake Shasta and began writing songs together. Haggard's singles "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star," "Natural High," "I Always Get Lucky with You," and "Let's Chase Each Other Around the Room," were all co-written by Powers.
Aside from his work with Haggard, Powers penned songs for George Jones, Ray Price and Ray Charles. He also played on and co-produced Willie Nelson's 1981 record, Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
In 2004, Powers was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which led him to create the Freddy Powers Parkinson Organization. The organization gives financial support to Texans who are also dealing with the effects of the disease.
Although the disease caused Powers to lose his ability to perform in recent years, he has still be active in the Texas country music community. Mary Sarah, a country artist and finalist from the latest season of The Voice, had a close relationship with Powers and voiced her grief over his loss.
"Just lost my second father today," she shared through a Facebook post. "He was a man who never thought about himself but others. He taught me to trust myself, to give, to give it all every time, to love, and so much more. He believed in me when no one else would. He opened his arms and took me under his wing and I will forever be grateful. I would not be the woman I am today without the love and support from Freddy Powers and his beautiful wife, Catherine."
Freddy's authorized memoir, The Spree of 83, which commentary by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, will be released on Feb. 17 in hardcover by Waldorf Books.
A GoFundMe campaign has been organized to help fund the cost of Powers' funeral expenses.