Daron Norwood, 1990s Country Star, Dies at 49

Daron Norwood

The country music world was saddened by the death of 1990s performer Daron Norwood on Wednesday at the age of 49. The singer, who was found unresponsive in his Hereford, Texas, apartment, signed with Giant Records in the early 1990s amid the boom in the format led by artists such as Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson.

The son of a preacher, Norwood moved to Nashville in 1988. After signing his record deal, he charted six entries on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, going as high as No. 24 with "Cowboys Don't Cry" in 1994. Another top 40 hit, "If It Wasn't For Her I Wouldn’t Have You," reached No. 26.

However, Norwood chose to walk away from the business in 1995 after releasing his sophomore album, Ready, Willing, and Able. He cited his struggle with alcohol abuse as a reason for his decision. The singer wasn’t done with recording, however.

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In 2002, he resurfaced on Nashville indie label Lofton Creek with “In God We Trust,” a song that made some impact at secondary radio as well as Southern Gospel stations across the United States. Longtime industry exec Mike Borchetta -- who ran the label -- said the singer was a pleasure to work with.

“He was such a talented person and artist. It’s so sad for him to be leaving us this young. He was a lot of fun to be around,” he said, adding that it was on the suggestion of longtime radio broadcaster Lon Helton that he take a chance on the singer. Norwood released a third and final album, I Still Believe, in 2012, on the D10 label.

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Besides his music, Norwood also was passionate about educating young people on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Borchetta noted, “He was doing a lot of speaking in schools at that time to warn them against the dangers of alcohol abuse. That was something he felt very strongly about. He was just an all-around good guy -- the kind you root for.”

An investigation is pending, but authorities say there is no evidence of foul play. 

--Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield