Four acclaimed tunesmiths representing four distinct areas of country music will join the 199 existing members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this fall. The late Townes Van Zandt, plus Bob Morrison, Aaron Barker and Beth Nielsen Chapman will be inducted during the 46th Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala on Sunday, October 9th, at the downtown Music City Center.
Hall of Fame member Pat Alger, chair of the organization’s board of directors, made the announcement Tuesday, noting that Van Zandt will be inducted in the songwriter/artist category, Morrison in the veteran songwriter category and Barker and Chapman in the songwriter category.
One of the most influential songwriters of the late 20th century, Van Zandt’s best-known songs include “Pancho and Lefty” and “If I Needed You.” Born in Texas and discovered by Mickey Newbury – who brought him to Nashville in 1968 – Van Zandt recorded several of his own albums featuring such cult classics as “For the Sake of the Song,” “Waiting ‘Round to Die,” “To Live Is to Fly,” and “White Freight Liner Blues.”
Morrison is the writer behind Johnny Lee’s crossover smash, “Lookin’ for Love,” as well as the Kenny Rogers hits, “You Decorated My Life” and “Love the World Away,” along with tunes recorded by Highway 101, Oak Ridge Boys, George Jones and the Dixie Chicks.
Aaron Barker’s songwriter credits include the George Strait chart-toppers, “Baby Blue” and “Love Without End, Amen.” In addition to several other cuts by Strait, his songs have been recorded by Lonestar, Neal McCoy, Clay Walker and more.
The co-writer of Faith Hill’s “This Kiss,” Beth Nielsen Chapman has scored cuts by dozens of artists including Willie Nelson (“Nothing I Can Do About It Now”), Tanya Tucker (“Strong Enough to Bend”), Lorrie Morgan (“Five Minutes”) and Martina McBride (“Happy Girl”). Her own recordings include the critically lauded 1997 LP, Sand and Water.
New members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame have been inducted since its founding in 1970, with the Gala event featuring tributes and performances of the inductees’ songs by special guest artists. Fellow songwriter organization the Nashville Songwriters Association International also participates in the evening, presenting its annual awards for the year’s Best Song, Songwriter and Songwriter/Artist, as well as the Top 10 “Songs I Wish I Had Written,” determined by their professional songwriter division. Inductees at the 2015 gala included Rosanne Cash and Craig Wiseman.