B. W. Stevenson (October 5, 1949 – April 28, 1988), born Louis Charles Stevenson, was an American country pop artist, working in a genre now called progressive country. “B.W.” stood for “Buckwheat”. Stevenson was born in Dallas, Texas, and attended W. H. Adamson High School with such other future noted musicians as Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Larry Groce.
Stevenson performed and was taped for the intended pilot of Austin City Limits on October 13, 1974. However, the recording quality was deemed too poor to broadcast. Willie Nelson’s performance taped the following night ended up being aired as the first episode of the long-running program.
Stevenson’s biggest hit was “My Maria”, co-written with Daniel Moore. “My Maria” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending September 29, 1973, and was covered much later by the country duo Brooks & Dunn, for whom it was a three-week No. 1 country hit in mid-1996. Among Stevenson’s other chart singles are “The River Of Love” (#53), “Down To The Station” (#82), and the original version of Daniel Moore’s “Shambala” (#66), which in a cover version by Three Dog Night reached No. 3.
Stevenson recorded one Contemporary Christian album, Lifeline, produced by his Beverly Hills, California, next-door neighbor, Chris Christian, that had success on Christian radio with the hit “Heading Home”. His album, Rainbow Down The Road was completed posthumously and included a duet with Willie Nelson on “Heart of the Country”. Author Jan Reid devotes a chapter to Stevenson in his book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, dubbing him “The Voice”.
In 2012, musician Shawn Colvin covered B.W. Stevenson’s song “On My Own”.
Stevenson died following heart valve surgery after developing a staph infection at the age of 38. Since his death, Poor David’s Pub in Dallas has held an annual songwriting competition in his memory.
1972 B.W. Stevenson (RCA)
1972 Lead Free (RCA)
1973 My Maria (RCA)
1973 Calabasas (RCA)
1975 We Be Sailin’ (Warner Bros)
1977 The Best of B.W. Stevenson (RCA)
1977 Lost Feeling (Warner Bros)
1980 Lifeline (Home Sweet Home Records)
1990 Rainbow Down The Road (Amazing Records)
2000 Very Best of B.W. Stevenson (Collectables)
2003 Lead Free/B. W. Stevenson (Collectables)
2003 My Maria/Calabasas (Collectables)
2005 We Be Sailin’/Lost Feeling (Collectables)