2014 Nominees for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Announced
April 25 2014
Eight songwriters and four songwriter/artists have been nominated for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Inductees will be announced in June, prior to the fall induction ceremony. This year’s nominees in the songwriter category are: Tom Douglas, Marcus Hummon, Tony Martin, Tim Nichols, Gretchen Peters, Steve Seskin, John Scott Sherrill and Sharon Vaughn. The nominees in the songwriter/artist category are: John Anderson, Rosanne Cash, Larry Gatlin and Amy Grant. Congratulations to all.
About the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 2014 Nominees:
[Additional information on each nominee available here.]
Category 1 - Songwriters
After graduating from Georgia State University in 1977, Atlanta-born Tom Douglas sold advertising in his hometown before making the move to Nashville a few years later. After four years of futility, Tom and his wife, Katie, moved to Dallas, where they raised a family, and he enjoyed a successful career in commercial real estate. In 1993, at a songwriting seminar in Austin, Tom played “Little Rock” for producer Paul Worley. The following year, the song was a Country hit for Collin Raye and nominated for CMA Song of the Year. Three years later, Tom and family moved back to Nashville, and more hits followed. “The Gift” by Collin Raye w/ Jim Brickman & Susan Ashton earned a 1998 Dove Award for Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year. “I Run To You” by Lady Antebellum earned the 2009 CMA Single of the Year. “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert earned the 2010 NSAI Song of the Year, the 2010 CMA Song of the Year and the 2011 ACM Song and Single of the Year. Other Tom Douglas songs include “Love's The Only House” by Martina McBride, “Hello World” by Lady Antebellum, and the Tim McGraw hits “Grown Men Don't Cry,” “My Little Girl,” “Let It Go” and “Southern Voice.”
Washington, D.C.-born Marcus Hummon has enjoyed a successful career as a songwriter, recording artist, producer, studio musician, playwright and author. A diplomat’s son, Marcus spent his youth in Africa and Italy. After several years playing in various bands, he found his way to Nashville. As a songwriter, Marcus has co-written hits such as “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Ready To Run” by The Dixie Chicks, “Born To Fly” by Sara Evans, “One Of These Days” by Tim McGraw, “Only Love” by Wynonna, “The Cheap Seats” by Alabama and “Love Is The Right Place” by Bryan White. “Bless The Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts earned Marcus a 2005 Grammy for Best Country Song, as well as an NSAI Song of the Year nod. A 2007 version by Selah w/ Melodie Crittenden, was a Top 5 Christian song and earned NSAI’s 2007 NSAI Song of the Year. Also an accomplished composer/playwright, Marcus has staged productions at the New York New Musical festival (The Warrior in 2005, The Piper in 2006) and the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Summer Workshop (The Warrior in 2005, American Duet in 2006), among others.
Born in Georgia and raised in Nashville, Tony Martin has been around Country songwriting his entire life. The son of classic Country composer Glenn Martin, Tony grew up at the feet of other stellar songwriters such as Sonny Throckmorton, Mickey Newbury and Hank Cochran. Tony was writing ditties and novelty songs when his father urged him to take his talent more seriously. When Tony subsequently came up with “Baby’s Gotten Good At Goodbye,” his father successfully pitched the song to George Strait. The song became Tony’s first #1 and the first of many other #1 songs throughout his songwriting career. Among his best-known songs are “Living And Living Well” (George Strait), “Banjo” (Rascal Flatts), “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later” (Lee Ann Womack), “Just To See You Smile” (Tim McGraw), “My Give A Damn’s Busted” (JoDee Messina), “No Place That Far” (Sara Evans), “Settle For A Slow Down” (Dierks Bentley), “Third Rock From The Sun” (Joe Diffie) and “You Look Good In My Shirt” (Keith Urban).
Tim Nichols was born in Portsmouth, Va., and raised in Springfield, Mo. After college, Tim and his band moved to Nashville. By 1984 he was signed to Ronnie Milsap’s publishing company. Tim’s first hit was 1990’s “I'm Over You” by Keith Whitley, which reached #3 on the Country chart shortly after his death in 1989. After a stint on BNA Records in the duo Turner-Nichols, Tim’s songwriting took off with hits such as “Brotherly Love” by Keith Whitley & Earl Thomas Conley, “Heads Carolina, Tails California” by Jo Dee Messina, “(This Ain't) No Thinkin' Thing” by Trace Adkins, “I’ll Think Of A Reason Later” by Lee Ann Womack and “That'd Be Alright” by Alan Jackson. In 2004, his “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw swept the awards with the 2004 Grammy for Best Country Song, the 2004 CMA Song & Single of the Year, the 2005 ACM Song and Single of the Year, the 2005 ASCAP Country Song of the Year and the 2005 BMI Country Song of the Year. Recent hits from Tim include “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill, “The Man I Want To Be” by Chris Young and “Cowboys And Angels” by Dustin Lynch.
Gretchen Peters was raised in the New York City suburb of Pelham, N.Y, and in Boulder, Colo. She performed in bands in the Boulder/Denver area before moving to Nashville in 1987. Her first big songwriting success was “The Chill Of An Early Fall,” recorded by George Strait in 1991. Much of Gretchen’s catalog is solo-written, such as her domestic violence saga “Independence Day,” which was a hit for Martina McBride in 1994 and named the 1995 CMA Song of the Year. The song was nominated for a Grammy, as was “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am,” her 1995 hit by Patty Loveless. Other hits include “The Secret Of Life” (Faith Hill), “Let That Pony Run” (Pam Tillis), “If Heaven” (Andy Griggs), “My Baby Loves Me” (Martina McBride) and “On A Bus To St. Cloud” (Trisha Yearwood). She also has a number of cuts with frequent collaborator/Canadian rocker Bryan Adams such as “This Side Of Paradise” and “Rock Steady” (a duet with Bonnie Raitt). Noted as one of the most intelligent and literate Country song crafters, Gretchen has also recorded eight albums as an artist.
New York-born Steve Seskin began his songwriting career when he moved to San Francisco in 1972. Upon the advice of Crystal Gayle, Steve visited Nashville in 1985 and began co-writing. He first hit the Country chart in 1990 with “Wrong” by Waylon Jennings. He has enjoyed particular success with both John Michael Montgomery (“Life's A Dance,” “If You've Got Love,” “No Man's Land”) and Neal McCoy (“No Doubt About It” and “For A Change”). His “Don't Laugh At Me” by Mark Wills was named the 1998 NSAI Song of the Year. The version by Peter, Paul and Mary became the impetus for the Operation Respect/Don’t Laugh at Me project, a curriculum designed to teach tolerance in schools. Other Steve Seskin hits include “Daddy's Money” by Ricochet, the Grammy-nominated “Grown Men Don't Cry” by Tim McGraw and “I Think About You” by Collin Raye. That song’s video was named the ACM’s 1997 Video of the Year, while the song and video were awarded by the Tennessee Task Force Against Domestic Violence. A successful performer and recording artist on his own, Steve is touring in support of his latest CD, Steve Seskin “Live,” his 17th recording released on his own record label.
JOHN SCOTT SHERRILL
John Scott Sherrill was born in New York City but grew up north of the metropolis in Mount Kisko, N.Y. Dropping out of college, he became a Folk singer in Boston, then a performer in a hippie band that played northeastern colleges. In 1975, he decided to travel to California, stopping in Nashville en route. When his van broke down in Music City, he stayed. He scored his first hit when Johnny Lee released “When You Fall In Love” in 1982. Working with a variety of collaborators, Sherrill has seldom been off the charts since. Among his BMI-award winning songs are “Wild And Blue” (John Anderson), “Some Fools Never Learn” (Steve Wariner), “That Rock Won’t Roll” (Restless Heart), “(Do You Love Me) Just Say Yes” (Highway 101), “The Church On Cumberland Road” (Shenandoah) and “No Man’s Land” (John Michael Montgomery). His “Nothin’ But The Wheel” has been recorded by Country’s Patty Loveless, the Bluegrass band Special Consensus and the Rock duo of Peter Wolf & Mick Jagger. In the late 1980s, Sherrill was a member of the Country group Billy Hill. Among his most recent successes are “How Long Gone” (Brooks & Dunn) and “Would You Go With Me” (Josh Turner).
Sharon Vaughn is a Florida native who was originally brought to Nashville by Mel Tillis, who had heard her singing in a club in Orlando. On Music Row, she sang background vocals for Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton and B.J. Thomas, as well as jingles for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Coca-Cola and United Airlines. Her first notable success as a writer occurred in 1976 when Waylon Jennings recorded “MyHeroes Have Always Been Cowboys” on Wanted: The Outlaws, Country’s first Platinum LP. Her first hit came with the Oak Ridge Boys’ 1977 smash “Y’all ComeBack Saloon.” Since then, Sharon has written more than a dozen Top 40 Country hits for artists such as Mark Chesnutt (“Broken Promise Land”), Keith Whitley & Lorrie Morgan (“Til A Tear Becomes A Rose”), Reba McEntire (“I’m NotThat Lonely Yet”), Patty Loveless (“Lonely Too Long”), Randy Travis (“OutOf My Bones”), Trisha Yearwood (“Powerful Thing”) and Jimmy Buffett & Martina McBride (“Trip Around The Sun”). In 2008, she provided Pop tunes to famed American Idol alumni Clay Aiken and Jon Peter Lewis. The past few years, Sharon has been living and working in Stockholm, Sweden, where her song “ReleaseMe” by Agnes has become a hit in over 40 countries. In addition to more than 100 cuts over the past two years, Sharon has been writing songs for musical theatre.
Category 2 - Songwriter/artists
John Anderson was born in Orlando, Fla., and raised in Apopka, Fla. Despite his teenage Rock band roots, he moved to Nashville in 1971 to pursue Country music. Working odd jobs during the day (such as being a roofer on the Grand Ole Opry House), he played clubs at night. By 1977, he signed with Warner Bros. Records and his self-titled debut album in 1980 helped signal the rise of the new traditionalist movement. Following several hits penned by other writers, John’s co-written “Swingin’” shot to #1 and became one of his signature hits in 1983. That song won the 1983 CMA Single of the Year and helped John garner that organization’s Horizon Award. Other John Anderson compositions from the ’80s include “Chicken Truck,” “Goin' Down Hill,” “I Wish I Could Write You A Song” and “If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.” Throughout the ’90s John scored hits with “Seminole Wind,” “Country ’Til I Die,” “I Wish I Could Have Been There” and “Bend It Until It Breaks.” John scored another hit with “Shuttin' Detroit Down” by John Rich in 2009.
Rosanne Cash was born in Memphis to legendary Country artist Johnny Cash and his first wife Vivian Liberto. After her parents' divorce, she and her siblings moved to Ventura, Calif., to live with their mother. Upon her graduation from high school in 1973, Rosanne spent three years on her father's tour as a wardrobe assistant and background singer. In 1978 she recorded a demo with producer (and future husband) Rodney Crowell. After a debut album release in Germany, Rosanne later signed with Columbia Records in Nashville. She released an album in 1980, followed by her landmark release Seven Year Ache in 1981. The self-penned song, “Seven Year Ache,” became her first #1 record, as did her “Blue Moon With Heartache.” Co-writer Vince Gill hit with two of their songs during the ’80s: “If It Weren't For Him” and “Never Alone.” From that point, Rosanne’s albums would prove worthy vehicles for her considerable songwriting talent, as evidenced by “I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me,” “Second To No One,” “Hold On” (the 1987 BMI Country Song of the Year), “If You Change Your Mind,” “What We Really Want” and “The Wheel.”
Larry Wayne Gatlin began his musical career at age 7 singing Gospel music in West Texas with his younger siblings. After college, Larry joined the Imperials and was performing with them in Las Vegas when he was discovered by Dottie West. Once she heard his songs, she sent him a plane ticket to Nashville and signed him to her publishing company. His early songs were recorded by her, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Presley (“Help Me”) and Johnny Rodriguez ( “I Just Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind”); however, as an artist himself, Larry had 28 self-penned hits reach the Top 20 between 1975 and 1990. The vast amount of Larry’s catalog is solo-written. Among his signature songs are “All The Gold In California,” “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today,” “Statues Without Hearts,” “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love,” “Night Time Magic,” “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer To You),” “The Lady Takes The Cowboy Every Time” and “Broken Lady” (1976 Grammy for Best Country Song). Larry starred on Broadway in The Will Rogers Follies in 1993. In recent years, his Gospel songs have been recorded by many artists. Larry was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.
Perhaps no other artist has so completely defined and dominated a genre as has Amy Grant in Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Signed to a recording contract at age 16, Amy became a CCM star by the late ’70s. Her 1982 breakthrough album, Age to Age, earned a Grammy and two Dove Awards and was the first Platinum Christian-music album. By the mid-’80s, she also began crossing over to Pop audiences with hits such as “Find A Way” (1985) and “Lead Me On” (1988). Her 1991 album, Heart in Motion, generated the multi-genre hits “Baby Baby,”“Every Heartbeat,”“Good For Me,” “I Will Remember You” and “That’s What Love Is For.” Another Amy song from this era, “Place In This World,” co-written with and recorded by Michael W. Smith, was named the GMA’s 1991 Song of the Year. Another Grant-Smith composition, “Thy Word,” has become a Hymnal standard. During her career, Amy has released four Christmas albums and co-wrote her signature “Tennessee Christmas.” She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2005, Amy starred in the reality TV series Three Wishes and won her sixth Grammy. In 2006, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Amy recently released her 23rd album since 1977, Somewhere Down The Road (2010).