Dayna Wills


These are some of my favorite photos, taken at various times in my life.

During my career I have been fortunate to work with some extremely talented musicians, and many of them have become close friends.

Speedy and The Road Runners, the John Speed band, Las Vegas, 1968

My first tour,
with John Speed’s band,
Speedy and the Road Runners,
in Las Vegas, Christmas, 1968.

Dayna Wills, 1968

This picture was taken
just before we left for
the first Alaska tour.
I dyed my hair back
because I didn’t
want to hassle with
the upkeep of a frost.

John Spped Band, Fairbanks, 1974

« With the John Speed band in Fairbanks,
during our 1970 Alaska tour.

With friends in Fairbanks, 1971

During our 1971 Alaska tour we worked with some great groups:
The Drifters, The Coasters, The Shirelles and Lou Rawls.
Here I’m with friends Sandy Speed, John Speed and
Lou Rawls in Fairbanks, 1971 >
(We introduced Lou to Sweet’s Bar B Que in Fairbanks).

Johnny Speed Show, Seattle, 1974

In 1974 we worked at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle before heading to Spokane. We played the Beef & Brew in downtown Spokane and Holiday Hills in Otis Orchards during the World’s Fair. Promotional poster for
the Johnny Speed Show in Seattle, 1974

Skeezix, the band

My first "sit-down" job was with Skeezix in Signal Hill, California. We played The Hillside Club from 1984 to 1988.
The Hillside was the sister club to the famous Foothill Club,
just around the corner in Long Beach.

Dayna with Cornell Hurd in Austin, TX

Onstage with Cornell Hurd in Austin, Texas.

Singing at the Church of Western Swing in Turkey, Texas

In 1989 I went to Turkey, Texas and sang with
Truitt Cunningham and San Antone Rose Band.
In this picture on the right, that’s Joe Settlemires on guitar,
at the Church of Western Swing.

Bob Wills Day, 2007

This is at the Bob Wills Day festival in Turkey, 2007. That’s Bobby Koefer on steel at the far left, then Joe Settlemires, Truitt Cunningham, me, Glynn Duncan behind the mics, and Rod Rodriquez on sax.

Gary and Dayna at Mickey B's in Yuma

Along the way I met this terrific guy.
This is a 1992 photo of Gary and me at Mickey B’s,
our favorite spot in Yuma, Arizona.

Dayna and Gary

Here we are,  two years later.

With friends at the Texas Western Swing Festival in San Marcos, Texas

 With friends in San Marcos, Texas

The "Fem Fab Four": Janet Lynn, me,
Louise Rowe, and Maryann Price. Angels, all.

Western Swing Society of Sacramento

Jamming with the boys at the Western Swing Society of Sacramento:
Olen Dillingham is on the left, with Truitt Cunningham on bass.

Biff Adams and Dayna at WSS

Congratulating Biff Adams on his induction into
the WSS Sacramento Hall of Fame, Oct. 6, 2001.
That’s Lottie Estes on the left.
Lottie and I were inducted in 1999.

Norma-Lee and Dayna at WSS Sacramento

"The Irrepressible Norma-Lee"
By Dayna Wills

Irrepressible means not restrain-able, not able to be controlled, irrepressible high spirits. That pretty well describes Norma-Lee. Sadly, we lost Norma-Lee on June 29, 2012. On July 22nd her friends, family, fans, and colleagues bid her a final farewell. It was especially gratifying for me to hear people speak of Norma-Lee with such warmth and appreciation. When she first joined the Western Swing Society in 1983, she was new to Western Swing music and terribly insecure. We couldn’t know that she would grow into and with an organization in such a way that she has become synonymous with it. No one who came to our monthly Sunday dances or our Hall of Fame Celebration ever left without becoming acquainted with Norma-Lee.

The irrepressible Norma-Lee: quick-witted, intelligent, compassionate, creative, informed, and involved. She led a successful life and I, for one, will miss that little package that enriched my life so much. I read somewhere that one way to honor the memory of someone who has passed is to adopt a personality trait of theirs that you admired. There are many positive traits to choose from in the personality of Norma-Lee. I will strive to become more creative: write that book, finish those songs, and write new ones. The good news is that Norma-Lee left me a treasure-trove of possibilities with her poetry. Think. What did she leave with you?

Co-songwriter and good friend Norma-Lee and I are enjoying our Western Swing Society Hall of Fame weekend at the Holiday Inn.