|New Hall of Famers and BMI songwriters Hugh Prestwood and Jimmy Buffett (center) celebrate their induction with Nashville Songwriters Foundation Chairman and Hall of Fame songwriter Roger Murrah, and BMI's Jody Williams, Del Bryant and Phil Graham.|
Buffett's ascension from Nashville hopeful to beloved cultural phenomenon is well-known. Staples like "Margaritaville," "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and "Come Monday" skim the surface of not simply an extensive song catalog, but a way of life. This marks Jimmy Buffett's first induction into a hall of fame of any kind, but most certainly not the last.
|Posing for a BMI family portrait are (l-r): songwriter and publisher Roger Murrah, Big & Rich's Big Kenny, hit songwriter and NSAI Board of Directors President Steve Bogard, BMI's Del Bryant, BMI hit songwriter Gary Hannan, NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison, Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Buffett, BMI's Phil Graham, hit songwriters Tammi Kidd and George Teren, Hall of Fame inductee Hugh Prestwood, singer Michael Johnson, BMI's Jody Williams, and American Idol finalist George Huff.|
Elder statesman Hugh Prestwood's contributions include nuggets like Randy Travis' "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart," Trisha Yearwood's "The Song Remembers When" and Shenandoah's "Ghost In This House." Prestwood's soliloquies mine the depths of human experience to heartbreaking perfection.
The NSAI also named BMI's Jeffrey Steele 2006's Songwriter of the Year. The unstoppable Steele, also dubbed Music Row's 2006 Songwriter of the Year, composes hits at a mind-numbing pace; Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most" and Steve Holy's "Brand New Girlfriend" are his most recent chart-toppers.
Country superstar Toby Keith was named 2006 Songwriter/Artist of the Year, adding another songwriting honor to his impressive collection. "As Good As I Once Was," "Honky Tonk U" and "A Little Too Late" number among the latest hits written or co-written by Keith.
Songwriters also voted on their peers' Top Ten contributions to country music in the "10 Songs I Wish I'd Written" category. BMI winners were well-represented, thanks to "Believe," co-written by Ronnie Dunn, "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way," co-written by Tammi Kidd, Joe South's classic "Rose Garden," "Skin (Sarabeth)" co-written by Doug Johnson, John Wiggins' and Gary Hannan's "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," "What Hurts the Most" co-written by Jeffrey Steele, and "When I Get Where I'm Going," co-written by George Teren.
The NSAI's 2006 President's Award was posthumously bestowed on SunTrust's Brian Williams, Music Row friend and new breed of banker, for his unrelenting dedication to and fostering of Nashville's songwriting community.
Photos: Krista Lee for Krista Lee Photography