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‘Seven Bridges Road’ Songwriter Steve Young Dead at 73

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Steve Young, the songwriter and musician best known for writing “Seven Bridges Road,” has passed away in Nashville. He was 73 years old.

Young was born in Newnan, Ga., in 1942, and was raised there, in Alabama and in Texas, according to CMT. He moved to Los Angeles in the early part of the 1960s, inspired by his desire to be part of the burgeoning folk music scene, playing solo shows and taking part in groups including Richard & Jim, the Skip Battin Band¸ the Gas Company (which featured both Van Dyke Parks and Stephen Stills) and Stone Country. He released a solo album in 1969 titled Rock, Salt & Nails, which drew on rock and country influences and featured guest appearances from Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and Richard Greene.

Though Young did not achieve significant commercial success as a solo artist, he released a string of critically respected albums that also garnered him the admiration of his fellow musicians. Waylon Jennings made “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” the title song of his 1973 solo album, and Travis Tritt later covered the song and released it as a single, while the Eagles routinely played “Seven Bridges Road” in concert from their earliest touring days. Their live recording of the song from 1981 hit No. 21 on Billboard‘s pop chart, and Ricochet later covered the song in a version that reached the Top 50 in 1998.

Though he never achieved the kind of solo fame of some of his contemporaries, Young was widely considered an early influence on the Outlaw Country movement that gave rise to Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and more. His son, Jubal Lee Young — who was featured on The Voice recently — posted to Facebook that his father fell in October of 2015 and suffered a brain injury, followed by a stint in intensive care and in hospice. He broke the news of his passing in a post on Thursday evening (March 17).

“My father, Steve Young, passed peacefully tonight in Nashville,” he writes. “While it is a sad occasion, he was also the last person who could be content to be trapped in a broken mind and body. He was far too independent and adventurous. I celebrate his freedom, as well, and I am grateful for the time we had. A true original.”

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