Born in Arkansas, Billy Don Burns moved to Palm Desert, CA, in 1970 after serving in the United States Army. Although joining a publishing company and having a few songs recorded, Burns moved to Nashville in 1972. With the help of Lynn Owsley, Burns moved into a musician's boarding house in Nashville. Owsley would often sneak Burns into the Grand Ole Opry while Owsley was one of Wanda Jackson's backing musicians. In 1972, Burns signed to Wilderness Music. After performing as Hank Williams at Opryland USA in 1973, the singer/songwriter had two songs recorded.