Career BMI songwriters Dennis Morgan, Billy Joe Shaver and Freddie Hart are the newest members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Morgan, Shaver and Hart, along with Guy Clark, were inducted November 7 during annual ceremonies hosted by the Nashville Songwriters Foundation at Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville.
|NSF Board member David Conrad, NSF Chairman Mark Alan Springer, Dennis Morgan, BMI's Frances Preston, Freddie Hart, Billy Joe Shaver, BMI's Del Bryant, and Kris Kristofferson|
Keith Urban, Jessica Andrews, Marcel and James Slater saluted Morgan, whose hits include "Smoky Mountain Rain," "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For the World," "Nobody" and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me). NSF Board member David Conrad made the presentation to Morgan.
|Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols celebrate their Song of the Year win for "Live Like You Were Dying"|
Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely led the celebration for Shaver, whose classics include "Good Christian Soldier," "I Been To Georgia On a Fast Train," "Old Five and Dimers," "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal" and "Live Forever." Tom T. Hall gave the induction speech.
|Scotty Emerick accepts NSAI Songwriter of Year honors||President Emeritus Frances Preston was recognized for her longtime support of NSAI and NSF|
After an introduction by Bill Anderson, T. Graham Brown reprised Hart's classic "Easy Lovin'," while Freddy Weller, Jim Casey and Dickey Lee performed the Hart hits "Bless Your Heart," "My Hang-Up Is You," "If You Can't Feel It (It Ain't There)" and "The Want-Tos."
|"Whiskey Lullaby": Bill Anderson, NSAI President Bob Regan, Jon Randall|
In conjunction with the Hall of Fame inductions, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) conferred a series of Songwriter Achievement Awards, with the top songwriter prizes won by BMI affiliates. The writing duo of Scotty Emerick and Toby Keith placed a pair of Keith songs among the top 40 vote-getters ("Beer for My Horses" and "I Love This Bar") to earn Songwriter of the Year for Emerick and Songwriter/Artist of the Year for Keith. BMI affiliate Tim Nichols accepted the Song of the Year prize for "Live Like You Were Dying," an honor he shared with his co-writer, Craig Wiseman.
|It's Five O'Clock Somewhere: Jim Brown, Bob Regan, Don Rollins|
Besides honoring the Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist of the Year, the writers of NSAI's Professional Songwriters Division also singled out 10 songs and their writers for its 2004 Achievement Awards (using the criteria of "The Songs I Wish I'd Written").
|"Letters From Home": Tony Lane, Bob Regan, David Lee|
BMI recipients were Don Rollins for "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," David Lee for "Letters From Home," Tim Nichols for "Live Like You Were Dying," Gary Duffey and Buck Moore for "Paint Me a Birmingha," Wendell Mobley for "There Goes My Life," Brett Beavers for "What Was I Thinkin'," and Bill Anderson and Jon Randall for "Whiskey Lullaby."
|"Paint Me a Birmingham": Buck Moore, Bob Regan, Gary Duffey|
|"There Goes My Life": Neil Thrasher, Bob Regan, Wendell Mobley|
|"What Was I Thinkin": Bob Regan, Brett Beavers|
|Keith Urban and surprise guest Ronnie Milsap|
|BMI's Phil Graham with Billy Joe Shaver and Joe Ely|
|Chuck Cannon, Sony's Tracy Gershon, Jon Randall, Lari White, Alexander, Beth Nielsen Chapman|
|Sony's John Grady, Bob DiPiero, Scotty Emerick, Russ Emerick, Rivers Rutherford|
Photos by Kay Williams