Country and western singer-songwriter who saw his
major success in the '70s and '80s. Born into a musical family in
Bastrop, Louisiana, young John was playing the guitar at the age of six and
appeared on a radio program at the age of seven. The Ryles Family Singers were radio
regulars and broke out of the Bayou to join the Cowtown Hoedown in Fort
Worth, Texas, and eventually the Big D Jamboree over in Dallas. The Ryles emigrated to Nashville,
Tennessee, in 1965, and John broke away from the pack, flying solo at the
age of fourteen. He pounded the
pavement, laying down demo tapes, working the club circuit, and even learning
the trade of recording engineer.
Three years later, he would catch his first break. He recorded a song "Kay"
in 1968, under the moniker of John Wesley I, giving him his first top-ten
hit on the Billboard Country chart.
His career didn't exactly take off. He recorded two albums in 1969 that
didn't do much.
Top-twenty success returned for him in the form of "I've
Just Been Wasting My Time" in 1970. A year later, he would revisit the
top forty with a song called "Reconsider Me". These last two were ironically
titled as for whatever reason John dropped out of the recording industry
and went back to the clubs. He
made a comeback of sorts with a pair of meager chart successes in
1976. It took a lot of airplay
but eventually "Fool" went top twenty in 1977, a painstaking
four months after its intial release.
His follow-up, "Lifetime Thing", would crack the top
five and prove to be his biggest hit, although he continued to chart in the
'80s. All told, John
Wesley Ryles would end 1988 having recorded at least twenty hits in twenty
years. Although stardom eluded
him, John did not fade away into obscurity. In the last twenty years, he has
found steady employ as a background vocalist for almost everyone who is
anyone in the country music business, including John Anderson, Terri Clark,
Reba McEntire, John Michael Montgomery, Dolly Parton, and Gene Watson. In 2005, he released a collaborative
effort with fellow artists Tim Buppert and Dana Hunt entitled Josh Vogel's Country Blues.
You Are Always
On My Mind (Wayne Carson/John Christopher/Mark James)