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NaSHOF to Induct Tony Arata, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Larry Henley, Kim Williams

August 20 2012

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NaSHOF) announced today its 2012 inductees into its Hall of Fame: Tony Arata, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Larry Henley and Kim Williams. Arata and Williams were named in the Songwriter category; Carpenter was elected in the Songwriter/Artist category; and Henley will be inducted in a new Veteran Songwriter category.

The four new inductees will be welcomed into the elite songwriting community by their peers and leaders in the Nashville music community at the 42nd Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony, presented by AT&T, on Sunday, October 7, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.

“Among all the great songwriters who have put the music in Music City, only a select few are elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame,” said John Van Mol , chairman of the foundation’s board of directors. “We are delighted to accord this honor to Tony, Kim and Mary Chapin, and pleased as well to recognize Larry as the first inductee in the Veteran Songwriter category.”

This past year, the Foundation created a Veteran Songwriter selection process to run parallel to regular Hall of Fame balloting. Instead of being voted on by professional songwriters and Hall of Fame members on the regular ballot, those in the Veteran category (whose first significant songs appeared 30 or more years ago) are considered by a special committee of Hall of Famers and other contemporaries most familiar with their work.

Tony Arata’s songwriter credits include hits such as “The Dance” (Garth Brooks ) and “Here I Am” (Patty Loveless). Kim Williams’ resume is known for hits such as “Three Wooden Crosses” (Randy Travis) and “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up” (Garth Brooks ). Larry Henley is the tunesmith behind the smash “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (Gary Morris, Bette Midler) and “’Til I Get It Right” (Tammy Wynette ). Mary Chapin Carpenter popularized many of her own compositions such as “Down At The Twist And Shout” and “I Feel Lucky.” [Biographical information on each inductee follows this release.]

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony is one of the music industry’s foremost events of the year. The evening features tributes and performances of the inductees’ songs by special guest artists. NaSHOF’s sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), also presents its annual awards for the year’s best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist, as well as the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written,” as determined by the professional songwriters division.

Tickets for the event are $225 each. A limited number of seats are available to the public this year and may be purchased (as available) by contacting event director Mark Ford at or 615-256-3354.

About the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame:

Established in 1970, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame boasts 184 members, including songwriting luminaries such as Bobby Braddock, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash , Rodney Crowell, Bob Dylan , Don & Phil Everly, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill , Harlan Howard , Alan Jackson , Bob McDill , Roger Miller , Bill Monroe , Roy Orbison , Dolly Parton , Carl Perkins , Dottie Rambo , Jimmie Rodgers , Don Schlitz , Cindy Walker , Jimmy Webb , Hank Williams, Sr. and Hank Williams, Jr. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit foundation dedicated to honoring and preserving the songwriting legacy of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. The NaSHOF’s principal purposes are to educate, archive and celebrate songwriting that is uniquely associated with the Nashville music community. More information is available at

Inductee Biographical Information

Tony Arata

Born and raised in the Savannah, Ga., area, Tony Arata paid his dues in regional bands performing everything from Bluegrass to Rock ’n’ Roll while in college as a journalism major. He was discovered in an Atlanta nightclub by a representative of the Noble Vision record company. As a result, the label’s Jim Glaser recorded Tony’s first hit as a writer, 1983’s “The Man In The Mirror.” Tony also recorded his own LP for the label. The songwriter moved to Nashville in 1986 and signed with Dennis Morgan’s publishing company. In 1990, “The Dance” (Garth Brooks — 1990 ACM Song of the Year) became his first #1 hit. Among Tony’s best-known songs are “A Handful Of Dust” and “Here I Am” (Patty Loveless), “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” (Clay Walker), “I’m Holding My Own” and “You Can’t Get There From Here” (Lee Roy Parnell) and Garth Brooks’ “The Change,” “Why Ain’t I Running” and “That’s The Way I Remember It” (as Chris Gaines).

Kim Williams

Kim Williams grew up near Rogersville, Tenn., where he was playing guitar by age 7 and writing songs by age 11. He played in bands throughout his youth, then settled into a career as a factory technician. After an industrial accident in 1974, Kim began making frequent trips to Nashville for treatment. Those years re-kindled his love of songwriting, and by 1989, he had his first hit — “If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets” by Joe Diffie. Since then, Kim’s songs have been recorded by Garth Brooks (“Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up,” “It’s Midnight Cinderella,” “Papa Loved Mama” and “She’s Gonna Make It”), Reba McEntire (“The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”), Kenny Chesney (“Fall In Love”), Brooks & Dunn (“Honky Tonk Truth”), Rascal Flatts (“While You Loved Me”) and Randy Travis (“Three Wooden Crosses” - named Song of the Year for NSAI, the CMA, the ACM and the GMA in 2003/2004). Kim was ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year in 1994.

Larry Henley

Texas native Larry Henley is one of only a handful of Music City composers to win a Grammy for Song of the Year (for “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” featured in the 1988 film Beaches). Henley is also distinctive in that he has had major success on both the Country and Pop charts. He first achieved fame in the 1960s Pop group The Newbeats, but by the 1970s he was forging a second career as a songwriter in Nashville with hits such as “If It’s All Right With You” (Dottie West) and “The World Needs A Melody” (the Carter Family w/ Johnny Cash), followed by “’Til I Get It Right” (Tammy Wynette), “Lizzie And The Rainman” (Tanya Tucker), “He’s A Heartache (Looking For A Place To Happen)” (Janie Fricke) and “Is It Still Over?” (Randy Travis). In addition to the Grammy, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” was the ACM’s 1983 Song of the Year and the CMA’s 1984 Song of the Year. Henley was NSAI Songwriter of the Year in 1983.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter was born in Princeton, N.J., but grew up in Japan and Washington, D.C. From an early age, she was fascinated with music. By her late teens, she was a regular performer in D.C. clubs. After graduating from Brown University, Mary Chapin began strongly emphasizing her original songs in her performances. Soon, her talent perked up ears in Nashville and by the 1990s, her Folk-Pop style was enthusiastically embraced by Country radio. Her best-known self-penned songs as an artist include “Down At The Twist And Shout,” “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” “I Feel Lucky,” “I Take My Chances,” “Never Had It So Good,” “Not Too Much To Ask,” “Shut Up And Kiss Me,” “Something Of A Dreamer,” “Tender When I Want To Be” and “The Hard Way.” Her songs have also been recorded by Joan Baez, Wynonna, Cyndi Lauper, Terri Clark, The Dixie Chicks, Art Garfunkel, Maura O’Connell and Trisha Yearwood. In 2006, Mary Chapin signed with Rounder Records and has since issued four critically applauded collections for its Zoe Records imprint.