Monday, October 15, 2007
– Bob DiPiero, Mac McAnally, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, Dottie Rambo and Hank Williams, Jr. were honored for their songwriting contributions and welcomed to the ranks of the Nashville Songwriters Hall Fame during the organization's 38th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony held last night.
"We have so much to celebrate as we honor our newest members," said Roger Murrah, Chairman of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NaSHOF). "Throughout their incredible careers, each of the honorees has left an indelible mark on the music world and further assured Nashville's reputation as home of the greatest songwriters. We're also celebrating the fact that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame will soon have a permanent home in the historic building at 34 Music Square East, thanks to a partnership with Belmont University and the Mike Curb Family Foundation."
Each of the new members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was inducted by a fellow artist, friend or family member, while the event was filled with performances of highlights from their respective repertoires.
Bluegrass stars Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs were inducted by Marty Stuart, who joined Flatt's band at the age of 13. The Grammy-winning Del McCoury Band took the stage to perform the Flatt & Scruggs hits "If I Should Wander Back Tonight," "Earl's Breakdown," "Little Cabin Home on the Hill," "Don't Get Above Your Raisin'" and the Martha White jingle before Stuart joined them on "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." Joining Scruggs to accept the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Manny Award (short for manuscript) were Flatts's widow, Gladys Flatt, and granddaughter Tammy Brumfield. "It's been a wonderful ride," Scruggs said. "Thank you all very much."
Barbara Mandrell inducted gospel music legend Dottie Rambo, whose prolific songwriting career has yielded more than 2,500 published songs, earning her a place with Fanny Crosby as women with the greatest impact on gospel music. "You are such an inspiration to me," Mandrell said, as she related the story of how Rambo traveled with a small Bible tucked in the neck of her guitar.
Rambo's granddaughter, Destiny Rambo McGuire, performed several selections from her vast repertoire, including "We Shall Behold Him," "If That Isn't Love," "Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome" and "I Go to the Rock." Accepting her award, Rambo said, "Thank you to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for even thinking of a little girl from Kentucky. I love my music, but I love the Lord better than my life and my breath."
Williams. "It's a surprise that I'm inducting my dad tonight," she said. "I'm a songwriter myself. It's my passion, and I am a true fan of my dad." She then performed three of his songs - "Feelin' Better," "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" and "Blues Man"- before country chart-topper Gretchen Wilson took the stage to perform the Bocephus classic, "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down." With his induction, Williams joins his father as the only father/son members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. As he accepted his award, Williams told the crowd that he had taken banjo lessons from Scruggs at the age of 19. "I'm from the old school," he said. "I know a lot of you are saying that these awards don't mean anything to old Hank, but this one is special. I need this, thank you, and I need y'all."
DiPiero's career began when he arrived in Music City in 1979 and found an early supporter in Amy Kurland, owner of the renowned Bluebird Cafe, so it was fitting that she presided over his induction. DiPiero's friends in the Hit Men of Music Row - Craig Wiseman, Tony Mullins and Jeffrey Steele - performed a medley of his hits including "American Made," " Take Me As I Am" and "Blue Clear Sky" before Neal McCoy performed his number 1 hit "Wink," which was named BMI Country Song of the Year in 1995.
"Coming from Youngstown, Ohio, I thought I might be indicted, but not inducted," DiPiero quipped as he accepted his award. "I definitely didn't get here by myself," he said, before acknowledging a long list of supporters, mentors and fellow writers. "I love all of you. Thank you for this honor."
Jimmy Buffett, himself a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, was on hand to induct his friend, producer and Coral Reefer band member Mac McAnally. "Mac writes like he's the love child of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor," Buffett said. "His music is the background music of my life."
Award-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Wariner performed an acoustic medley of McAnally's hits "Old Flame," "Two Dozen Roses," "Precious Thing," "Back Where I Come From," "It's a Crazy World" and "It's My Job" before Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller and Hobie Hubbard, along with former bandmate Duncan Cameron, offered the soulful "All These Years." Accepting his award, McAnally said, "I historically hold myself in low regard, but for this one night I'll put that aside and trust that you all know what you're doing."
The evening saw the NaSHOF's sister organization, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), handed out its annual Songwriter Achievement Awards. The organization's professional songwriter members voted "Bless the Broken Road," by Bobby E. Boyd, Jeff Hanna and Marcus Hummon, as their Song of the Year. The Songwriter of the Year prize went to Dave Berg, co-writer of hits such as "Moments" (Emerson Drive) and "Stupid Boy" (Keith Urban). A tie in the Songwriter/Artist of the Year category presented honors to both Alan Jackson ("A Woman's Love") and Taylor Swift ("Tim McGraw"/"Teardrops on My Guitar").
The writers of NSAI's Professional Songwriters Division also singled out 10 songs and their writers for the organization's 2007 awards, informally dubbed "The Songs I Wish I'd Written." Recipients were "Before He Cheats" (Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins / recorded by Carrie Underwood); "Bless the Broken Road" (Bobby E. Boyd, Jeff Hanna, Marcus Hummon / recorded by Selah with Melodie Crittenden); "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" (Casey Beathard, Ed Hill / recorded by Tracy Lawrence); "Give It Away" (Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson / recorded by George Strait); "Good Directions" (Luke Bryan, Rachel Thibodeau / recorded by Billy Currington); "I Loved Her First" (Walt Aldridge, Elliott Park / recorded by Heartland); "Moments" (Dave Berg, Annie Tate, Sam Tate / recorded by Emerson Drive); "One Wing in the Fire" (Bobby Pinson, Trent Tomlinson / recorded by Trent Tomlinson); "Stupid Boy" (Sarah Buxton, Deanna Bryant, Dave Berg / recorded by Keith Urban); "The Seashores of Old Mexico" (Merle Haggard / recorded by George Strait); "Would You Go With Me" (Shawn Camp, John Scott Sherrill / recorded by Josh Turner).