BIOGRAPHY of Wynn Stewart
The Early Years
FULL NAME: Winford Lindsey Stewart
(not Wynnford, as you will see in many places)
BORN: June 7, 1934, Morrisville, Missouri
PARENTS: Cleo Winford & Golden Stewart
SIBLINGS: Patty Wanderer and Beverly Mullins
Wynn Stewart was one of the leading country music artists who helped develop the Bakersfield sound in the early 50's and 60's of the West Coast. His music had a driving beat with a strong and energetic vocal performance. During the 50's and 60's, Wynn released a string of singles that performed respectably, yet failed to break him into the mainstream. He continued to release albums into the 70's and 80's, but never quite became a genuine country star like he deserved. His distinctive vocal style inspired Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, as well as alternative country musicians of the 80's like Dwight Yoakum and k.d. lang.
Wynn picked up the guitar at age 8 and taught himself to play. At the young age of 13, Wynn had already appeared on KWTO in Springfield, which later became the host for the Ozark jubilee.
His parents were both from Missouri and his father, Cleo was a sharecropper farmer. Cleo took the family to California where he worked at the submarine base during World War II. After a trip back to Missouri, the family settled in Los Angeles in 1948, when Wynn was 14.
Wynn originally wanted to be a professional baseball player, but he was too short (at 5'5") to play ball professionally so he concentrated on a musical career. While still in high school, he formed a band and began playing clubs around California, with his father accompanying him as chaperone. At this time he made his first recording. The song was Eddy Arnold's hit, "Anytime".
He graduated from Edison Park High School in Huntington Park, CA, in 1951. Besides a short stint working for a printing company, he never had much of a real job other than music. Singing and playing guitar was all he ever wanted to do.
Carl Moore, a DJ in Huntington Park, who went by "Squeakin' Deacon" hosted regular talent shows and Wynn entered it often, winning it everytime. At one of them he met a friend for life, Ralph Mooney (who is now in the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame for his life-long contributions to country music). Ralph would later become Wynn's steel guitar player and would forever consider himself "Wynn's steel guitar player". Ralph continues to be one of the most respected steel guitar players of all time. He also played for Waylon Jennings for nearly 20 years and is now enjoying a very deserved retirement.
"Music was a part of Wynn from the very beginning", said his sister, Beverly Mullins. "He used to sing with our aunts in church".
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