J.W. Warren was located through field research by George Mitchell, which was sponsored by Columbus Museum of Arts and Sciences at Columbus, Georgia with the assistance of grants from the National Endowment for The Arts and the Historic Chattahoochee Commission.
He entered the military as a young adult and served for 14 years. After serving in the military, he started farming and began to play barbeques at house parties in southeast Alabama. "'I came up the hard way. I never had a break whatsoever. In other words, I never had a break in my life. I was born in the wrong part of the world and then again I didn't go any place else. My daddy gave me a good raising and I know how to treat people, how to be respectful to folks. I like that. But I had too much trouble in my life. I didn't do anything with the talent I had because I didn't have much education. When you got a back break like I had you doubt yourself, you know it's rough man!' J.W. Warren died of a heart attack at his home in Ariton, AL, on the afternoon of August 5, 2003." - George Mitchell recorded these tracks in 1981