The performing bug bit Bobby Don
At age seven he
was placed on the bar of the Austin Avenue Buffet (later to be a subject of one of his
Eventually, as people began asking for Bobby Don
to perform and missed his
entertainment when he
was not there, he
was raised to fifty cents per song.
Not a bad paying gig for a seven year old in 1958!
gives credit for his
love of performing to his
early participation in the Kirkwood Baptist Choir.
Choir director Harold Cartee recognized Bobby Don's talents, often placing him in the front of the rest of the choir, thereby removing any chance for Bobby Don to develop stage fright.
love of the guitar came a few years later at a chance outing with the Boy Scouts.
At age ten, Scout Master Billy Forrester (friend Steve Forrester's father), handed a guitar around the campfire and Bobby Don
taught himself how to play the guitar by ear.
performed in local talent shows with Steve Forrester, but developed most of his
guitar skills by practicing every day - especially playing along with commercials on TV.
At fifteen Bobby Don
first band named Something Else.
lived near "Tiger Village" which was then considered the bad part of town.
Even though Bobby Don's
family were hard working and lived in a commercial area not connected with the notorious "Tiger Village", the mothers of Bobby Don's fellow band members did not want him included in the group.
floundered a bit after his
exclusion from the band, but kept his
affection for music with him.
He kept practicing his guitar while attending school and becoming a certified respiratory therapist.
It was through his
work that he
At nineteen, Bobby Don worked nights for Stansell's Oxygen Service at Piedmont Hospital.
When there wasn't much to do, a cot was provided to rest, but Bobby Don
used this time to practice his
Even though it was the middle of winter, Linda had been eying the motorcycle for a ride and, as the cold days of winter drug on, Bobby Don
had begun eying the warm heater in Linda's maverick!
continued doing occasional gigs, but decided in 1970 to join the navy.
musical talent was quickly discovered in boot camp by a chaplain who happened to hear him singing.
He was asked to join the Navy Blue Jacket Choir which, combined with top test scores, allowed him to join a company less stringent than most.
Joining about twelve other men who sang so well together no radios were needed on base.
Performing with the Navy Blue Jacket Choir exposed Bobby Don to a wide variety of important people including the Disney Board of Directors.
A transfer to Great Lakes, IL created another musical opportunity for Bobby Don
The Air Force had begun putting out pop band commercials as a promotional effort during the Vietnam War.
The Navy was eager to follow suit and Bobby Don was asked to be the lead singer of the very first navy pop band in Chicago.
discharge from the Navy, Bobby Don and Linda
returned to Atlanta where he
was a finalist in a talent contest at the Bistro called "Starquest".
After this performance, Billboard Magazine's Russell Shaw described Bobby Don as a "sensitive, eloquent, poignant singer/songwriter".
Even more important, Russell Shaw paid for Bobby Don's
first real studio time.
This opportunity, along with support from WRAS Georgia radio show host Aubry Walton, provided Bobby Don
with the exposure he
needed to increase club performances throughout the city of Atlanta.
If also gave Bobby Don
the confidence and outlet to begin playing his
original music on stage.
1974 brought even more exciting things Bobby Don's
was asked to perform the early show at Flynn's club.
was followed by well known local artist Ron Kimball and their combined talents soon brought both the performers and the club notoriety.
Flynn's became an Atlanta hot spot overnight.
continued playing the club circuit with bass player Steve Howell.
In 1980 Bobby
opened the Excelsior Mill and became the anticipated act for every weekend thereafter.
It was also at a performance during the 1980 Olympics that Bobby Don
was introduced to J. Walter Thompson Executive VP, Andy Romano.
went to work writing and recording several demos but they decided to go with a different advertising approach.
Even so, Andy remained so impressed with Bobby Don's
singer/songwriter talents that he
convinced him to take another look at more commercial and advertising opportunities.
Soon thereafter, Bobby Don
began building the Gopher Broke Band.
In 1988 Bobby Don
took another turn in his
musical career by composing songs for the Alliance Theater production, Faust for President.
was supposed to write just one song, but got so excited he
wrote the hit song, King of the Cowboys in one night.
The director was so surprised and impressed he
eventually contracted Bobby Don
to write eight of the musicals songs and the finale.
was on his
way to the top of the music industry and says when asked about this period in his
career, "I thought I was going to be a star the next week, and I still think I'm going to be a star next week!".
It remains one of the biggest thrills in Bobby Don's
life to have been able to hear other people sing his
songs on stage.
The natural next step for Bobby Don
was to head to Nashville.
In 1990 Bobby Don and Atlanta songwriter Kathy Reed headed out to see how far their talents would take them in music city.
Upon hearing the song Pandora immediately pulled John out of a recording session and to Bobby Don's
surprise, John Denny reacted very emotionally to the song.
While Bobby Don
wrote the song to convince Pandora to listen to his music it actually told the story of John and Pandora's romance.
With time on his hands, Bobby Don wasn't sure what to do until Studio Manager/Recording Engineer Ric Landers took him small mouth bass fishing on the Piney River.
The release from Denny Music Group of Midnight Stories
marked Bobby Don's
arrival on the professional recording scene.
continued recording and playing with the Gopher Broke band, perfecting the band's sound, and making a few member changes.
Then on Friday, an urgent call came for Bobby Don
to create a commercial song by Monday.
The only input given to Bobby Don
was that it was a tune for a plant nursery and it should get people to reconnect with playing in the dirt.
It was retired after eight years, but Bobby Don
will still have people walk up to him and talk about their memories of the tune.
The Pike Family Nursery Commercial proved to be a financial success for Bobby Don
It allowed him to purchase property in North Georgia Mountains, and have a real sense of stability for the first time in his
Moby in the Morning, one of the most listened to country radio stars, asked Bobby Don
to perform the commercial live and reported back that the song was the only advertising jingle to ever receive repeated requests.
One final perk from the Pike Nursery Commercial came in 1994 - 1995 when the Atlanta Symphony asked Bobby Don
to play with them during a Children's Music Appreciation performance.
In 1998, Bobby Don and Linda
moved up to Blue Ridge, Ga.
needed time to heal from the pressures of recording, studio work, and the business practices inherent to the music industry.
began to work on bringing alternate music styles to his
new home town of Blue Ridge.
1999 brought an especially exciting event as Bobby Don
worked with Trisha Yearwood on a Georgia Public Broadcasting special titled Main Street Georgia.
penned and performed the theme song "Small Town Main Street" which was nominated for an Emmy in 2000.
It was also in 2000, however, that Bobby Don's
mother, Jessie Mae Kimbrell Bloodworth, became ill with multiple medical conditions.
There was no question in Bobby Don's
mind that he
needed to be with his
mother during this period.
He remained her caretaker in Atlanta until her passing in 2002.
When Bobby Don
returned to the North Georgia Mountains, he
realized how much he
needed to seriously work on his
Slowly, Bobby Don
started to feel excitement about music again.
began throwing himself in to various private projects including commercials, musical theater, local