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Songwriters hall inducts John Hiatt, Matraca Berg, Tom Shapiro

Monday, October 27, 2008 – The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation welcomed hit songwriters Matraca Berg and Tom Shapiro and singer/songwriter John Hiatt into its ranks during the 39th Annual Nashville Songwriters Hall Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony held last night.

"We take pride each year in shining a spotlight on incredible songwriters who have helped create the very foundation of the music industry. We're delighted to welcome Tom, Matraca and John into the Hall of Fame, said Roger Murrah, chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation.

Shapiro was inducted by WSIX on-air personality Gerry House, who called him a great lyricist, an amazing melody guy and a great human being. Shapiro co-writers Rivers Rutherford and Mark Nesler performed a medley of Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You and You Look Good in My Shirt, before Jo Dee Messina took the stage to perform My Give a Damn's Busted. Billy Dean capped the segment with If There Hadn't Been You, saying to Shapiro, "There's no way I would ever have made it in this town if it weren't for you." Shapiro said he was inspired to be a songwriter out of his desire to "unlock the mystery of music, and why it moved me so much."

Berg was inducted by Hall of Fame songwriter Bobby Braddock. Jessi Alexander, Jon Randall and Randy Scruggs performed a medley of Wrong Side of Memphis and You Can Feel Bad before being joined by Kim Carnes, who treated the audience to Berg's signature song, Strawberry Wine. Martina McBride closed out the set with Wild Angels. Berg said the honor was more than she had ever dreamed and added, "I wanted to be a songwriter since I was four years old." She also thanked her husband, Jeff Hanna, and quoted Marshall Chapman saying, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

Hiatt was inducted by BMI's VP, Writer-Publisher Relations Jody Williams, who said, "I've only written one fan letter in my life, and it was to John Hiatt, after hearing his album 'Slow Turning'. His songs are everyday revelations whose brilliance lies in John's exploration of the mundane to reveal the common thread in all of us." Shawn Colvin performed This is the Way We Make a Broken Heart, before Emmylou Harris performed Icy Blue Heart, joined by Jon Randall. Michael McDonald closed out the set with Have a Little Faith in Me.

"My dream was not to be in the Songwriters Hall of Fame," said Hiatt, "but just to learn how to write songs, and this (Nashville) is the epicenter of songwriting. I still don't feel I know anything about songwriting; it's a harrowing experience, but to be honored this way makes me feel like I might know what I'm doing."

Larry Gatlin presented the first Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation Mentor Award to veteran publisher and writer Bob Beckham.

In addition to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions, NaSHOF's sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), presented its annual Songwriter Achievement Awards. The organization's professional songwriter members voted You're Gonna Miss This, by Ashley Gorley and Lee Thomas Miller, as their Song of the Year. The Songwriter of the Year prize went to Casey Beathard, co-writer of hits such as Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy) (Rodney Atkins); Don't Blink (Kenny Chesney); How 'Bout Them Cowgirls (George Strait); and Ready, Set, Don't Go (Billy Ray Cyrus with Miley Cyrus). A tie in the Songwriter/Artist of the Year category presented honors to both Alan Jackson ("Small Town Southern Man / Good Time") and Brad Paisley ("Letter to Me / I'm Still a Guy").

The writers of NSAI's Professional Songwriters Division also singled out 10 songs and their writers for the organization's 2008 awards, informally dubbed The Songs I Wish I'd Written. Recipients were Better As A Memory (Scooter Carusoe, Lady Goodman / recorded by Kenny Chesney); Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy) (Casey Beathard, Marla Cannon-Goodman / recorded by Rodney Atkins); Don't Blink (Casey Beathard, Chris Wallin / recorded by Kenny Chesney); I Saw God Today (Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell, Wade Kirby / recorded by George Strait); If You're Reading This (Tim McGraw, Brad Warren, Brett Warren / recorded by Tim McGraw); Letter To Me (Brad Paisley / recorded by Brad Paisley); Love Me If You Can (Chris Wallin, Craig Wiseman / recorded by Toby Keith); Stealing Cinderella (Rivers Rutherford, George Teren, Chuck Wicks / recorded by Chuck Wicks); Watching Airplanes (Jim Beavers, Jonathan Singleton / recorded by Gary Allan); and You're Gonna Miss This (Ashley Gorley, Lee Thomas Miller / recorded by Trace Adkins).

More news for Matraca Berg

CD reviews for Matraca Berg

The Fields CD review - The Fields
Matraca Berg's new studio album is not so much a country project as it is a musically varying collection with a noticeably decided sense of place. The feeling of knowing where one belongs is expressed with the piano and strings ballad A Cold, Rainy Morning In London In June, where Berg truly feels like a homesick tourist, and also comes out during Oh Cumberland, a song about a famous Southern river that continually calls her home. These are highly personalized songs from the woman that won a »»»
Lying to the Moon And Other Stories
Though she hasn't logged a lot of air time on country radio as a singer, Matraca Berg is a familiar name to most of today's country singers. Berg is one of the most successful country songwriters of the 1990's, writing smashes like "The Wrong Side of Memphis," "Strawberry Wine" and "That Kind of Girl." Her latest CD is a re-issue of some of her best, but lesser-known, creations from previous albums, ranging from the tender title track and "Back When We Were Beautiful" to the more raucous and »»»
Sunday Morning to Saturday Night
Deana Carter built her career on two Matraca Berg-written singles, the CMA Single and Song of the Year "Strawberry Wine" and "We Danced Anyway," and now after two brilliant but unsuccessful albums on RCA, Berg has resurfaced on Rising Tide. With Emory Gordy Jr. producing, an all-star cast of musicians and singers performing, and Berg writing and singing every song, this album deserves to be a huge hit. "Good Ol' Girl" is a tribute to the truck-stop waitress who "serves up the biscuits and gravy »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Washburn, Fleck give reasons to be happy  – "I sing because I'm happy," sang Abigail Washburn toward the end of her show with fellow banjo picker (not to mention, husband) Bela Fleck in the closing number of the night "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Washburn had a lot of reason to be on this night in a beautiful setting at Harvard University. The two held court over two... »»»
Concert Review: For The Jayhawks, no reissues needed – The Jayhawks have not released any new music since 2011's "Mockingbird Time," but, well actually, there are reasons for one of the key contributors to the alt.-country music. In July, "Sounds of Lies" (1997), "Smile" (2000) and "Rainy Day Music" (2003) saw the light of day again in expanded reissue versions.... »»»
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