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Nashville Songwriters Hall announces new inductees

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 – Townes Van Zandt, Bob Morrison, Aaron Barker and Beth Nielsen Chapman will be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October, it was announced today.

The four will join the 199 existing members of the organization when they are officially inducted during the 46th Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala on Oct. 9.

Barker's songwriter credits include "Baby Blue" and "Love Without End, Amen" (George Strait) and "What About Now" (Lonestar). Nielsen Chapman's resume is known for "Nothing I Can Do About It Now" (Willie Nelson), "Strong Enough To Bend" (Tanya Tucker) and "This Kiss" (Faith Hill). Morrison is the tunesmith behind "Lookin' For Love" (Johnny Lee), "Whiskey, If You Were A Woman" (Highway 101) and "You Decorated My Life" (Kenny Rogers). Van Zandt songs included "If I Needed You," "Pancho And Lefty" and "To Live Is To Fly."

Van Zandt was widely regarded as one of the most influential Texas songwriters of his generation. Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, to an oil-rich family, Van Zandt rejected a life of privilege to begin his folk-singing career in Houston in 1965. In 1968, he was discovered by Mickey Newbury, who brought him to Nashville. Throughout the next quarter century Van Zant would live, write and record in Music City, creating favorites such as "For The Sake Of The Song," "Waiting 'Round To Die," "To Live Is To Fly," "No Place To Fall," "Rex's Blues," "St. John The Gambler," "Tecumseh Valley" and "White Freight Liner Blues." While not so well known for his own recording career, his songs were covered by more commercially successful artists. That included "If I Needed You" by Emmylou Harris and Don Williams and "Pancho And Lefty" by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Van Zandt died Jan. 1, 1997, at age 52, after struggling with alcoholism throughout his career.

Morrison, a Biloxi, MIss. native, began writing songs while in college and performing in clubs up and down the east coast, which led to a record deal with Columbia Records in New York. In 1973, he moved to Nashville, where he signed with Combine Music and soon began getting cuts. In 1980, Morrison won a Best Country Song Grammy for "You Decorated My Life" by Kenny Rogers. The film "Urban Cowboy" featured two of Morrison's songs: "Lookin' For Love" by Johnny Lee and "Love The World Away" by Rogers. He also wrote "You're The One" by The Oak Ridge Boys, "The Love She Found In Me" by Gary Morris, "Don't Call Him A Cowboy" by Conway Twitty, "Are You On The Road To Loving Me Again" by Debby Boone, "Shine On (Shine All Your Sweet Love On Me)" by George Jones, "Whiskey, If You Were A Woman" by Highway 101 and "Tonight The Heartache's On Me" by The Dixie Chicks.

Barker spent the better part of two decades in a band that performed at military bases and public events across the U.S. During long bus rides, he wrote songs. His first attempt, "Baby Blue," was recorded by George Strait and topped the country chart. He soon began performing his original material in small clubs and cafes. One night after a long father-son talk, he wrote "Love Without End, Amen." Strait took it to the top of the charts. Strait also sang Barker's "Easy Come, Easy Go," "I'd Like To Have That One Back," "I Know She Still Loves Me" and "I Can Still Make Cheyenne." Hits with other artists include "Not Enough Hours In The Night" by Doug Supernaw, "Watch This" and "You're Beginning To Get To Me" by Clay Walker and "What About Now" by Lonestar.

Chapman, a Texas-born Air Force brat, began performing as a teenager in Montgomery, Ala. She signed her first song contract in 1979, then recorded her debut solo LP in 1980. After she moved to Nashville in 1985, she worked as a session singer while Bonnie Raitt, Neil Diamond, Michael McDonald and Bette Midler, Pam Tillis, Crystal Gayle, Kathy Mattea and Emmylou Harris cut her songs. Songs include "Ain't Necessarily So" and "Nothing I Can Do About It Now" by Willie Nelson, "Down On My Knees" by Trisha Yearwood, "Five Minutes" by Lorrie Morgan, "Happy Girl" by Martina McBride, "Here We Are" by Alabama, "Maybe That's All It Takes" by Don Williams, "Simple Things" by Jim Brickman and Rebecca Lynn Howard and "Strong Enough To Bend" by Tanya Tucker. "This Kiss" by Faith Hill won 1999 Song of the Year with both ASCAP and the CMA.

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CD reviews for Townes Van Zandt

Sunshine Boy The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972 CD review - Sunshine Boy The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972
When one thinks about the music of the late, great Townes Van Zandt, it is easy to presume it is primarily in the context of the stark, downer nature of his songs, a pivotal turning point in the direction of American country music that has inspired everyone from Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle to such renowned heavy metal acts as Neurosis and Scott "Wino" Weinrich. It is a style the Texas icon had woven from his twin loves for both the Depression era hillbilly country of Dock Boggs and »»»
In The Beginning
Recorded two years prior to his official debut album, these recently discovered demo tracks reveal a younger Townes Van Zandt already in prime form. These 1966 recordings, produced by the legendary Jack Clement, sound more like finished works than demos. Though mostly acoustic, several tracks ("Black Widow Blues" and "Hungry Child Blues") feature a full band and recall Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home" era work. The influence of Hank Williams is also strong, particularly in the tortured love »»»
A Far Cry From Dead
Fans of hardcore troubadour Townes Van Zandt will be relieved that there's still some music left from this enigmatic artist. Executive produced by his widow, Jeanene, and former Willie Nelson cohort Eric Paul, this breathes new life into the Van Zandt legend. The author of such timeless entries as "Pancho and Lefty" and "Rex's Blues" resuscitates these old chestnuts and others, like "To Live's To Fly" and "Greensboro Woman." Why buy an album of songs any die-hard will have heard before? Van Zandt »»»
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: With or without band, Isbell satisfies – Usually, when an artist performs without his regular backing band, it becomes about mathematics of subtraction. That artist is armed with far fewer artistic weapons at his/her disposal, after all. In Jason Isbell's case, though, when he performed with just his wife and fiddler Amanda Shires, it was more about substitution than subtraction.... »»»
Concert Review: Grammy nominations aside, Yola, Kiah are the real deal – Grammy nominations do not make the artist, but Yola and opener Amythyst Kiah underscored time and again on this night that the honors were well deserved. In fact, Yola and Kiah's other group, Our Native Daughters, are nominated in the same category - Best American Roots. Yola has three other nominations as well. The clear winners... »»»
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