Larry Gatlin, Johnny Horton Lead Songwriter Nominees


Larry Gatlin photo courtesy of

June 20, 2008 — Fifteen of Music City’s best composers — including Larry Gatlin, the late Johnny Horton and "Strawberry Wine" author Matraca Berg — are among the nominees for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, announced yesterday.

Three entrants will be selected by members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation from two different categories: Two people will make the cut from the 10 nominees in the Songwriter field, while one figure will be enshrined from among the five Songwriter/Artist finalists.

Larry Gatlin and Johnny Horton are the best-known country figures among the five singer-songwriters in the running. The other three are better-associated with other fields: recently deceased pop vocalist Paul Davis, who set chart records with "I Go Crazy"; gruff-voiced John Hiatt, who created "Have A Little Faith" and "Thing Called Love"; and swampy Tony Joe White, who earned a hit with "Polk Salad Annie" and wrote the classic "A Rainy Night In Georgia."

The 10 nominees in the Songwriter category (and some of their credits) include:
• Matraca Berg ("Strawberry Wine," "Wrong Side Of Memphis")
• Paul Craft ("Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," "Brother Jukebox")
• Kye Fleming ("I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool," "Smoky Mountain Rain")
• Larry Henley ("The Wind Beneath My Wings," "Lizzie And The Rainman")
• John Jarrard ("Blue Clear Sky," "Money In The Bank")
• Bob Morrison ("Lookin’ For Love," "You Decorated My Life")
• Mark D. Sanders ("I Hope You Dance," "Heads Carolina, Tails California")
• Tom Shapiro ("Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You," "Living And Living Well")
• John Scott Sherrill ("Would You Go With Me," "The Church On Cumberland Road")
• Sharon Vaughn ("My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," "Y’all Come Back Saloon")

The winners will be announced Oct. 26 during an induction ceremony at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. The Nashville Songwriters Hall will soon have a physical presence on a piece of Music Row property that was once the home of the fabled Columbia Recording Studios, where such classics as "El Paso," "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Ring Of Fire" were recorded.

Previous Hall of Fame inductees include Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, among others.