David Frizzell, brother of the late great Lefty Frizzell, joins The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation
His life and his career are tightly woven into the fabric of country music history and lore. He is both legacy and legend with an unmistakable voice and a captivating style.
David Frizzell is one of the greatest voices in country music with a haunting resemblance to his older brother, the ultimate stylist, Lefty Frizzell. Both share that raw, forlorn quality that is essential to the interpretation of traditional country themes, but David’s voice is even more resonant and nuanced; a perfect instrument for conveying the deepest emotion of every lyric.
While still just a teenager, David Frizzell left home to perform and tour with his legendary brother, working the concert circuit with many of the mightiest names in country music. By his 18th birthday, Frizzell was recording country and rockabilly albums for Columbia Records. A four-year hitch in the military slowed his burgeoning musical career, but upon his discharge, Frizzell was immediately re-signed to Columbia.
David emerged from the significant shadow of his brother to create his own artistic identity. He recorded and charted the first country version of “L.A. International Airport” (months before it became a hit by Susan Raye) and followed that song with a Top 40 rendition of “I Just Can’t Help Believing”. Frizzell parlayed his recording success into headlining country shows in Las Vegas, a bold move that paved the way for other country acts in Las Vegas.
In the early 1980s, Frizzell founded the musical duo of Frizzell & West with the gorgeous and gifted Shelly West, daughter of country superstar Dottie West. Their recording of “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma” made its way to Clint Eastwood, who insisted on adding the tune to the soundtrack of his forthcoming film, Any Which Way You Can… despite the fact that every major label had previously passed on the song and the duo. This vote of confidence earned Frizzell & West a contract with Viva/Warner Bros. and the wheels began to turn quickly. A small radio station in Tulare, California began to play the album track. Other stations followed, prompting Warner Bros. to release the song as a single. Soon, the song that nobody wanted became a smash hit.
Frizzell & West remains one of the most-awarded acts in entertainment; one that sold out arenas worldwide and produced five albums. The duo twice won the Country Music Association’s Vocal Duo of the Year award, twice won the Academy of Country Music award for Vocal Duet of the Year and were awarded the ACM Song of the Year award. They also received the Music City News Award for Duet of the Year twice and Song of the Year as well.
During his duet years with West, Frizzell continued a vibrant solo career. He scored a huge chart-topping hit with “I’m Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home.” The record is a country music standard, and has been featured on CMT’s 40 Greatest Drinking Songs in Country Music, making #17 in the countdown. Also, making #6 in CMT’s countdown of the 100 Greatest Duets is “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma.”
Along with his CMA awards, Frizzell has won numerous performing and recording trophies from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard and Music City News. He has been nominated for three Grammys, both as part of Frizzell & West and as a solo artist.
As producer and Host of the popular Frizzell & Friends series of projects, TV, CD’s and DVD’s David brings together some of the top performers in the business for both live and recorded projects. On his own Nashville America Records label, Frizzell & Friends guest performances have included Merle Haggard, Crystal Gayle, Johnny Lee, Gene Watson, Joe Stampley, Jeannie Seely, T. Graham Brown, Lacy J. Dalton, Bobby Bare, Helen Cornelius, Jimmy Fortune (Statler Brothers), John Cowan (New Grass Revival), Johnny Rodriguez, Amy Clawson, brother Allen Frizzell and niece Tess Frizzell.
In 2011, David released his long-awaited book, a tribute to the life and career of Lefty Frizzell. “I Love You A Thousand Ways: The Lefty Frizzell Story” features a foreword by Merle Haggard and chronicles the turbulent life and career of one of America’s most influential voices. The book was named by CMT as one of the Best Music Books of the year. An audio book is now available and David is working on a screenplay of the story.
In addition to the Lefty project honoring the brother who loved, taught and inspired him, David has plans to give back in other ways. He has teamed up with M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) to raise awareness of the dangers of driving impaired, and of the tremendous service provided by the organization. The Frizzell family itself was touched by loss in the wake of an accident with a drunk driver and this project is one way for David to both thank MADD, and strive to help and inspire others. With the moving song, “Say Hello To Heaven,” David paints a story of loss with the palpable emotion that only his inimitable voice can deliver. The song and a segment focused on MADD will be part of a Frizzell & Friends television show on the RFD network.
Writing, producing, touring and performing… David Frizzell is not one to rest on his many accolades. This timeless entertainer continues to share his gifts to the delight of fans old and new across the US and throughout the world.