She is a country music singer-songwriter born Jill Byrem in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and has been called “Country’s Bonnie Raitt”. Her musical family all played instruments, sang and wrote country songs.
She took her further education at Brigham Young University during the 1960s but after deciding it wasn’t for her she gave her studies up and travelled the country before going to Los Angeles followed by Santa Cruz. Here she became a folksinger and then towards the end of the decade she joined up with the rock band Office. Her name changed to Jill Croston after she married the manager of the band and this was the name she used for her first album in 1978, but tragedy struck when he lost his life in an accident in a swimming pool.
This was when she decided to become a country singer and moved to Nashville, changing her name to Lacy J. Dalton. She signed a record deal with CBS after the producer Billy Sherrill heard her demo in 1979 and gained an immediate following through her recordings and concerts. She opened several concerts for other acclaimed country music artists that included Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr. and her recordings soon catapulted her into the country charts. She also sang duets with Bobby Bare, Glen Campbell, Janie Fricke, George Jones and Eddie Rabbitt among others.
The Academy of Country Music voted her Best New Female Artist in 1979 and she was also awarded “Best Country-Folk Recording” three times at the Bay Area Music Awards and received three Grammy Award nominations.
Her many hits during the 1970s and ‘80s include “Black Coffee”, “Crazy Blue Eyes”, “Everybody Makes Mistakes”, “Hard Times”, “Hillbilly Girl With the Blues”, “Tennessee Waltz” and Billboard Magazine named “16th Avenue” as one of “Country’s Top 100 Songs Ever”. Her work with Willie Nelson brought her further success when she received a gold record for her contribution to his Half Nelson.
She dropped out of the limelight for the majority of the 1990s but still released albums that include 1999’s Wild Horse Crossing. In 2004 she went back into the recording studio as singer and co-producer and put together the CD The Last Wild Place with her backing band The Dalton Gang. The album and the single “Slip Away” that came from it both topped the World Country Independent Chart and the American Western Music Chart.
During the mid-2000s she has toured to promote her new style of music that has been dubbed “Americana” and in 2006 the song “She Could Run” became the top song at Fort Worth’s KOCR internet radio station. She also sang on “This Is Our Time” with David Frizzell and Friends and appeared on the TV programme Family Reunion with other country artists such as Moe Bandy, Ed Bruce, Roy Clark, Helen Cornelius, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Jeannie Seely and Joe Stampley.
In 2009 she was in the studio recording Songs of the New West and What Don’t Kill You Makes You Strong. Also in 2009 she was busy working on a movie soundtrack.
In March 2017 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and toured the United States.
Outside of music she runs The Let ‘em Run Foundation, which is a non-profit company involved in the protection and preservation of the wild horses of America.
Here she is performing “Wild Turkey” in 1981…