Owens "Boomer" Castleman (July 18, 1945 – September 1, 2015), better known by his stage name Boomer Castleman, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Best known as the co-writer of several songs with Michael Martin Murphey, Castleman also made his mark as a producer, guitar innovator and record-label entrepreneur.
He was born Owens Boomer Castleman in Farm Branch, Texa in 1945. His musical career began in high school. His first collaborator was the then-unknown John Denver, with whom he toured on the folk circuit. He moved to Los Angeles where he was a regular at Randy Sparks’ Ledbetters folk club. He also formed a band called The Survivors with future Monkees star Michael Nesmith.
After The Monkees became a sensation in 1966, Castleman teamed up with Michael Martin Murphey (under the guise as Travis Lewis) as the folk-pop duo The Lewis & Clarke Expedition and signed with The Monkees’ label, Colgems Records. They recorded a pop album in 1967 for Colgems, the label that released The Monkees. The band was said to have gotten the deal with Colgems through Murphey's, Castleman's, and bassist John London's associations with Michael Nesmith. After the Monkees, the duo was the label’s main act in 1967 and managed a US Top 100 single with ‘I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)’, one of their four singles for the label.
The Monkees recorded the duo’s “(What Am I Doin’) Hangin’ Round” and featured it on three of their TV show’s episodes in 1967-68. Castleman and Murphey co-starred in their own TV pilot titled The Kowboys in 1969, but a series was not put into production.
Castleman became widely known in instrumental circles for inventing the Palm Pedal in 1968. This device allows guitar players to emulate steel-guitar sounds. It is now marketed as the Bigsby Palm Pedal.
After their breakup as a singing duo, Boomer Castleman and Michael Martin Murphey continued to collaborate as writers. They co-wrote several of the songs on Murphey’s 1972 LP Geronimo’s Cadillac, including “Boy From the Country,” “You Can Only Say So Much” and “Blood Brothers.”
In 1975, Boomer Castleman scored a mid-sized pop hit with his self-composed “Judy Mae.” Two years later, he co-produced the Meri Wilson novelty hit “Telephone Man,” and cowrote most of the songs on her subsequent album.
He relocated to Nashville in the 1970s. As a guitarist, he has backed Tammy Wynette, David Alan Coe, Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, George Hamilton IV, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Dave Dudley, Big Al Downing, Johnny Rodriguez and Tom Jones, either on stage or in recording sessions. He also recorded as a studio backup vocalist.
Boomer Castleman died of cancer in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, at the age of 70.
(Info edited from various sources mainly musicrow.com)