As a producer of number one hits by artists like Kenny Chesney, John Michael Montgomery, Joe Nichols and Reba McEntire, Grammy Award winner Buddy Cannon’s talent in the studio continues to speak for itself. And it’s no wonder he knows his way around the recording studio, considering his many years of experience in all aspects of the business, from session background vocalist and bandmember, to master songwriter and publishing company executive to record label A&R man. Cannon’s knack for picking and producing artists and their hits has helped launch the careers of mega-stars like Shania Twain and Billy Ray Cyrus, and his songwriting prowess has provided numerous hit songs for everyone from Vern Gosdin and Mel Tillis and George Strait.
Cannon first earned his Nashville musical stripes in the early 70’s as the bass player in Grand Ole Opry star Bob Luman’s band. His songwriting ability turned the head of CMA’s 1976 Entertainer of the Year, Mel Tillis, who promptly signed Buddy as a songwriter, to work in his band and and also to work with his publishing company. During their eleven-year association, Tillis recorded several of Cannon’s songs, including the popular “I Believe In You,” which went to the top of the charts and was also recorded by Englebert Humperdink.
After the acquisition of Tillis’ publishing interests by PolyGram, Cannon was hired by PolyGram’s Mercury Records as Director of A&R for the company. During his six-year stint at Mercury, he was instrumental in bringing such stars as Twain, Cyrus and Sammy Kershaw to the label. Cannon produced several Number One hits for Kershaw during this period, including “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” “National Working Woman’s Holiday,” and “Cadillac Style”, as well as several more Kershaw hits which reached the Top Five position on the charts. He was eventually recruited as VP/A&R for Polydor/Nashville but, not long after, elected to leave that position in 1995 to pursue independent production projects.
His own impressive personal song catalog includes classic hits like Vern Gosdin’s “Set ‘Em Up Joe,” “Dream Of Me”, and “I’m Still Crazy,” Billy Ray Cyrus’ “She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore,” and George Strait’s “I’ve Come To Expect It From You,” and, most recently, Strait’s record breaking 53rd number one song “Give It Away” which was named Song Of The Year at the 2007 Academy Of Country Music Awards.
Along with his work with Sammy Kershaw, George Jones (“High Tech Redneck”), John Michael Montgomery (“The Little Girl”), Chely Wright (“Single White Female”), and a 22 year run as producer for Kenny Chesney (“Young”, “A Lot Of Things Different”, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”, “There Goes My Life”, “The Good Stuff”, “Somewhere With You”, “You And Tequila”), Cannon has also produced projects for Jamey Johnson (“The Dollar” & “Living For A Song – A tribute To Hank Cochran”) Sara Evans (“No Place That Far”) and Joe Nichols (“Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”). Cannon has been the producer of choice for several recent recording projects by his hero Willie Nelson which Cannon proclaims to be one of the major highlights of his career. The collaboration with Nelson led to the Willie/Merle Haggard duet record “Django And Jimmie”. This record led to Cannon producing Merle Haggard’s final solo record before his passing which at this point is still unreleased. In 2017 he was awarded a Grammy for producing “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin”. Recent record projects produced by Cannon are new projects by Alison Krauss and also the newest release by Aaron Lewis.