Saturday, February 13, 2016
– Kim Williams, 68, who penned hits for Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Joe Diffie and Randy Travis, died on Thursday.
Among the songs he wrote were "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up," "Papa Loved Mama," "It's Midnight Cinderella" and "She's Gonna Make It" for Brooks and "If the Devil Dance (In Empty Pockets)" for Diffie.
Born Kim Edwin Williams, he played in bands throughout his youth and wrote songs by age 11. He played music throughout the South and Midwest, but stopped touring after marrying and starting a family. In 1974, he was seriously burned in an accident, undergoing more than 200 surgeries in its aftermath. Many of his treatments were at Nashville's Vanderbilt Hospital. Due to being in Nashville, Williams renewed his interest in songwriting.
"I tell people that I got burned out on my last job, and decided to become a songwriter," he said. "I don't know if I'd ever have gotten back into music if I hadn't had that accident."
Williams took songwriting classes and started pitching songs. In 1989, he signed with Tree International as a staff songwriter. His first major success came with "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)," a number one country hit for Diffie in 1991.
He also started writing with Brooks, leading to a series of hits.
In 2003, Travis had a hit with "Three Wooden Crosses," recorded by Randy Travis. The song won top song honors from the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Gospel Music Association.
Williams also helped write "Beer Run," recorded by George Jones and Brooks; "Honky Tonk Truth" for Brooks & Dunn; "My Blue Angel" for Aaron Tippin. "Pickin' Wildflowers" for Keith Anderson, and "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" for McEntire.