Ronnie Dunn, K.T. Oslin, Byron Hill, Wayne Kirkpatrick and Joe Melson were officially inducted into the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall Fame last night in front of a sold-out industry audience at the Music City Center here. The musical contributions of the newest inductees were celebrated through star-studded performances of some of their biggest hits during NaSHOF’s 48th Anniversary Hall of Fame Gala.
“Each year the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame honors a few of the greatest songwriters in the business. This year’s inductees are no exception, each a prime and unique example of the broad variety of popular songwriting that emanates from our community,” said Hall of Fame member Pat Alger, Board chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation.
“The members of the incoming class of 2018 once again embody the highest standards required to become part of this honored group of songwriters. It is our distinct pleasure to welcome Byron Hill and Wayne Kirkpatrick in the songwriter category; Joe Melson in the veteran songwriter category; Ronnie Dunn as our songwriter/artist and K. T. Oslin as this year’s veteran songwriter/artist.”
In addition to the inductions, NaSHOF recognized Reba McEntire with the organization’s inaugural Career Maker Award, honoring those who have had a significant influence upon the songwriting careers of Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame members. Throughout her career, McEntire has recorded some 80 songs – including 34 singles – written or co-written by more than 40 songwriters who have achieved induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“If great songs are the currency of great music careers, Reba McEntire’s careful choice of only the greatest songs has been a calling of the highest order,” Alger said. “From the very first single, which had a future Hall of Fame songwriter on both the “A” and “B” sides, to dozens and dozens of other classic performances, Reba, during her own Hall of Fame career, has recorded songs written by 45 Hall of Fame members, including new inductee Ronnie Dunn. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation is truly proud to present Reba with the first ever Career Maker Award in recognition of her enduring dedication to singing only the best of the best.”
The evening was filled with special performances and moments, kicking off with K.T. Oslin’s induction by Hall of Fame songwriter Rory Bourke. A pair of performances highlighted Oslin’s stellar career: recording artists Runaway June with ”Do Ya” and Brandy Clark’s interpretation of “80’s Ladies.” Hall of Fame member Mike Reid accompanied Clark.
Next, songwriter Mike Dekle inducted Byron Hill while artists Shawn Camp and Mo Pitneyhonored the new Hall of Fame member with performances of “Born Country” and “Fool Hearted Memory,” respectively.
Following dinner, all current Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame members in attendance were invited to the stage in order to honor the organization’s inaugural Career Maker Award winner, Reba McEntire. Some of the best songwriters in music history crowded the stage to acknowledge an artist who has recorded so many of their songs. Layng Martine Jr.presented Reba with her award.
After that historic moment, Joe Melson was inducted by former BMI CEO Del Bryant. Two of Melson’s most memorable hits were performed: Jesse Labelle offered “Crying’ “ and Jamie Floyd “Blue Bayou.”
Ronnie Dunn was inducted by longtime friend and duo partner Kix Brooks. Recording artist Jon Pardi performed “Neon Moon” while frequent co-writer Terry McBride offered up “Play Something Country.”
The evening closed with the induction of Wayne Kirkpatrick by songwriter Gordon Kennedy. Gabe Dixon performed “Change The World” and Little Big Town offered their first major hit, “Boondocks.”
About the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame:
Induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is one of the nation’s most highly prized songwriting achievements. Since 1970, the Hall has enshrined more than 200 of the greatest writers from all genres of music ever to put words to music in Music City, including such luminaries as Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Garth Brooks, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, Johnny Cash, Don & Phil Everly, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Bob McDill, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Dottie Rambo, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams. Operated by the non-profit Nashville Songwriters Foundation, the Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring Nashville’s rich legacy of songwriting excellence through preservation, celebration and education. More information is available at: http://www.nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com/.
Top Photo (l-r): Inductees Ronnie Dunn, K.T. Oslin, Joe Melson, Wayne Kirkpatrick and Byron Hill
Bottom Photo: Reba with Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame members
PHOTO CREDITS: Bev Moser