Reeves was born James Travis Reeves in Galloway, Texas, a small rural community near Carthage, Texas. He became known as a crooner because of his warm, velvety voice. His songs were remarkable for their simple elegance highlighted by his rich light baritone voice. Songs such as "He'll Have to Go," "Adios Amigo," "Welcome To My World," and "Am I Losing You" demonstrated this approach. Jim Reeves' Christmas songs have been perennial favorites, including songs such as "Silver Bells," "Blue Christmas," and "An Old Christmas Card".
For many years, Reeves mixed college life with baseball and music. Influenced by such Western swing artists as Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican as well as popular crooners Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra, it was not long before he got a foothold into the music industry. For a time, he was a member of Moon Mullican's band and also worked as a DJ and announcer with local radio stations. He made some early, Moon Mullican-style recordings like "Each Beat of my Heart" and "My Heart's Like a Welcome Mat" in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
After an injury cut short
his minor-league baseball career with the
St. Louis Cardinals farm system, his musical
break came while working as announcer on
KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Singer
Sleepy LaBeef could not make it on time for
a performance on the Louisiana Hayride,
according to former Hayride emcee Frank
Page, and Reeves was asked to fill in.
(Other accounts—including Reeves himself, in
an interview later released on the RCA album
Yours Sincerely—name Hank Williams as
the absentee.) Reeves' singing career was