Texas police officer wins songwriting award

We recently received a note from David Culbertson, Secretary and Publicity Chairman for the Houston, TX Bay Area Bluegrass Association. He shared with us an article he had published in the BABA monthly newsletter back in September, and which we think will be of interest to our readers as well. Though some time has passed since the raw emotions first surfaced in the aftermath of the hurricanes’ devastation in the Gulf Coast area, this two moth old story from the Houston area still has an impact.

In light of recent events in the New Orleans area amid stories of police officers committing suicide and walking off their jobs because of the tremendous pressure and turmoil all around them, many having lost their own family members and homes because of Hurricane Katrina, I thought about some of my friends in law enforcement. I also wondered what I would do if I found myself in the midst of these kinds of pressures. I tried to remind myself that these folks are not only public servants and beacons of the community but they are also mere mortals like the rest of us. I especially thought of one friend in particular who had just called me with some great personal news, and I would like to share his story with the rest of my community. The story is not about some great heroic event that many of these folks perform daily, but illustrates the human side of life of many of our public servants and their true character as creative individuals who could have chose other professions rather than serving the rest of us. I hope this helps all of us to look at them in a different light and not take them for granted the way we sometimes often do. The remainder of this article is a reprint from the Bay Area Bluegrass Association’s monthly newsletter.

Award winning songwriter and musician by day and a Harris County Deputy Sheriff by night, Wil Huckabay of Huck”s Acoustic Revue (HAR), was recently informed his song “South Park Trainyard” won the Winfield New Song National Showcase Bluegrass Song of the Year. Deputy Huckabay also serves as the Vice President of the Bay Area Bluegrass Association in League City, Texas. In addition, Wil”s son Dylan, left for the Navy on September the 8th.

The song, written by Wil Huckabay and composed by Lee Dahn, both members of HAR, won the much coveted award by bluegrass song writers and will be presented to them at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas where they will perform the song Saturday, September 17th, at 1:15 pm. They will receive their award and take group photos. South Park was one of 20 songs in 10 different categories that won Song of the Year. South Park was entered into the category entitled “feeling good song.” The call came in from Winfield”s Walnut Valley Festival on August 31st.

Wil wrote “South Park Trainyard” last year while they were still working on their CD project at Kerry Jones” Studio in Alvin, Texas. The song is about Wil and Jim Dahn”s childhood growing up together in the South Park area of Houston. They would spend many a summer day at the trainyards. Wil and Jim have remained best friends since elementary school. Jim is the guitar player for HAR and Wil is their banjo player.

Wil wrote the song on a Tuesday night in September of 2004. They were due into Kerry”s studio that Sunday. Wil gave the words to Lee Dahn, HAR”s mandolin player, and Wil and Jim”s nephew. Lee is responsible for composing many of HAR”s original songs. Lee worked on it in frustration for several hours. He couldn”t seem to find the right musical score for the lyrics. He then stated to Wil, “We could give it a more folky type of sound and chord structure”. He then put a string of chords together and they both immediately knew that was what they were looking for. The band got together on Friday night and learned the song. Sunday, while at Kerry”s studio, they recorded it and put it on the CD. Kerry did a masterful job blending and mixing it, as well as all the other songs on their latest CD entitled “Huck”s Acoustic Revue”. The CD has many of their original songs on it, such as St. Michael”s Galleon, One Irish Night, Paul”s Pines, Legends and Folklore, The Sound of Autumn, and South Park Trainyard.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.