Passings: Hugh Wright, Drummer For Country Band Boy Howdy

Hugh Wright, the drummer for the country band Boy Howdy, died from natural causes at his home on Friday at his home in Great Fall, MT from what was described as "natural causes". He was 63.

Born in Des Moines, IA, he received a bachelors of music degree from the University of Iowa with a concentration in drumming before moving to Los Angeles.

In L.A., Wright became a studio drummer working with a number of big names including John Lee Hooker. He also played in a band with brothers Larry and Cary Park and another with Jeffrey Steele. Hugh admired the musicians from both groups and often said that they should play together but it wasn't until Larry Park needed a quick substitute for his bassist for a 1989 gig that Wright got him to pick up Steele.

The four musicians began writing their own material and playing at L.A. clubs that would allow originals, leading to a 1990 show at the Foothill Club in Signal Hill, CA where they were heard by an executive of Warner Brothers.

Before they even released their first album, the group, now known as Boy Howdy, appeared in the film Pure Country with George Strait. They recorded their first album, Welcome to Howdywood, in early 1992 but, before it was released, tragedy struck the group. Wright and manager Alan Hopper were driving outside of Dallas, TX when they saw a pickup truck that was broken down on the side of the road. The two went back to help but, while they were on the side of the road, a car ran into the truck, killing two people and leaving Wright with leg and head injuries.

Wright spent five months in a coma in the hospital recovering from his injuries and benefit concerts were held to help pay the medical expenses. Four days after one of those concerts in late-July 1992, the band's debut album was released on Curb Records. While the first single, Our Love Was Meant to Be, only got to 43 on the Country Singles chart, the followup, A Cowboy's Born With a Broken Heart, went to number 12.

After coming out of the coma, Wright had to relearn how to walk and play drums and, because of impaired speech, had to give up any singing with the group. He rejoined them in mid-1993.

Boy Howdy's career really took off with the 1994 EP She'd Give Anything. Only six songs long, the album produced the band's only two top ten singles, She'd Give Anything (1993 / #4 Country) and They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore (1994 / #2 Country).

A final album, Born That Way (1995), included four singles, none of which went higher than 25 on the Country Singles. By the next year, the band had disbanded.

Wright moved to Great Falls, MT soon after the breakup where he played in a number of local groups until his death.

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