Doak Snead Biography

The son of a banker/rancher and a nurse, Billy Doak Snead was born in the west Texas town of Bronte on December 24, 1949. His first musical interests were in his sister’s Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Fats Domino records. He learned them by heart and pantomimed them at the age of six.

He started playing guitar at the age of 13 while on a two week stay in the hospital with pneumonia. He studied songbooks and learned the folk music of "Peter, Paul, and Mary," "Johnny Horton," and "The Rooftop Singers." During this hospital stay he heard The Beatles' tune "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on the radio and his course was set.

In the mid-'60s, Doak moved his base from Bronte to the nearby 'metropolis' of San Angelo (pop. ~ 60,000, then) to begin seriously honing his skills in cover bands. He started writing his own songs in 1969, finishing 100 titles in his first year and, with fellow San Angeloan T. Gosney Thorton, he formed the duo 'Tom and Billy.' In 1971 they played, for the first time, at the infamous "Hungry Horse" folk club in Austin.

In 1973, Doak relocated to Austin and formed the original 'Doak Snead Band,' garnering critical and popular acclaim during the earliest days of redneck rock, aka 'progressive country.' One of the first bands of their kind to do all original material, the 'Doak Snead Band' opened many shows for Willie Nelson, John Prine, Asleep at the Wheel, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jerry Jeff Walker and Loudon Wainwright, III, among others, at the legendary Austin concert hall the  'Armadillo World Headquarters'.

In 1975 The Doak Snead Band initiated what became a long-running program with the Houston Pops Orchestra at the Miller Theater, entertaining crowds numbering 10,000 fans.

When the band finally broke up, Doak pursued a solo career touring colleges and universities around the southwest and was eventually asked to play at the then up-and-coming Kerrville Folk Festival, now one of the largest and longest running music festivals in the United States.

Doak recorded three albums on different labels from 1977 to 1988: Think of Me Sometime (produced by Huey P. Meaux and Danny Epps), Powderhorn (co-produced by Lloyd Maines, father of "Dixie Chicks" lead singer, Natalie Maines), and 1015 Main: the Bastrop Demos.

In 1989, after a hiatus from the music business, Doak packed his bags and  moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

For three years Doak worked as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame, using his spare time to write songs, make the rounds, and record demos. Finally, in 1993 he was 'handed' a contract at Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Writers Group as a staff writer.

In 1997, Doak received his first cut, "Headed For the Light," co-wrote and recorded by Jamie Slocum on Curb Records and re-released on Jamie’s 2001 album Someone Like You.

In 1998, Doak's first charted song, "John Wayne Walking Away," co-written with Austin Cunningham and Jerry Boonstra, was released as a single by Lari White on Disney’s Lyric Street Records, and his "Only For the Weak," written with Michael Puryear and Scotty Krippayne, charted for the popular Christian group Avalon on their gold CD In A Different Light.

A year later, country Christian artist Lisa Daggs recorded Doak’s poignant love story "Alfred & Omega" co-written with Lee Domann and Doak’s wife Kelley Sallee Snead, also an accomplished singer and songwriter.

A multi-faceted writer, among Doak's achievements are three children’s albums, They Call Me Mister, Kids Rule! under pseudonym Mister Doak, and And They Call Me Mister Doak.  Kids Rule! was a 2011 children’s music Grammy entry and And They Call Me Mister Doak followed in the same category the next year.

Doak now has released 3 more   songwriter/singer albums 2001’s Inside (soon to be re-released and available online), The Doak Snead Band: After 331/3 years, After 331/3 rpm, and his newest collection, Catalogue, available online in fall 2016.

Another feather in Snead’s cap is the 2015 release, Roses & Tumbleweeds, a CD of songs he produced and co-wrote for Kelley Sallee Snead, his wife.  This album is also available online, (search Google for Kelley Sallee Snead).

© Doak Snead 2001-2018