[Updated Arrangements] Songwriter Tim Johnson Passes

Tim Johnson

A memorial service for Tim Johnson will be held Thurs., Nov. 1, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden’s Massey Hall. There will be no admission charge for attendees. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to MusiCares at www.grammy.org/musicares/donate.

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Songwriter Tim Johnson passed away Sun., Oct. 21, following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 52 and died at home. The established member of Nashville’s music community had more than 100 major label cuts to his credit, with some of his biggest hits including Diamond Rio’s “God Only Cries,” Jimmy Wayne’s “Do You Believe Me Now,” and Daryle Singletary’s “I Let Her Lie.”

His list of singles and cuts also includes Joey + Rory’s “Remember Me” and “That’s Important to Me,” Tim Rushlow’s “She Misses Him,” Jeannie Kendall’s “Out of Loneliness,” Rockie Lynne’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Me,” Tracy Lawrence’s “Up to Him,” Blaine Larsen’s “The Best Man,” Derek Sholl’s “When They Come Back,” and Doug Stone’s “Nice Problem.” Johnson’s “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” written with Jon Wolfe and James Dean Hicks, was recorded by Joe Nichols for his 2011 album release.

Johnson’s talent extended to the studio, where he produced artists including Blaine Larsen. The respected songwriter was active with NSAI, where he served on its Song Camp faculty and was a longtime board member. He assisted the organization with its legislative work in Washington, D.C. Friends say he was a champion of songs and songwriters, and always encouraged aspiring writers. He also founded the Songwriter’s Institute.

In 2007 Johnson teamed with Rory Feek and Jeff Skillen to establish the Song Trust, which had success with “Bring Him Home Santa,” a song about fathers who serve in the military. Feek and his wife, Joey, said they are “saddened with the loss of our good friend. His passing leaves a big hole in our hearts and an even bigger one in the heart of country music.”

Growing up in Noti, Oregon, one of Johnson’s early songwriting influences was Mickey Newbury.

Johnson is survived by wife Meg, son Jack and daughter CeyMusicRow extends sincere condolences to his loved ones.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced. Check MusicRow.com for updates.

Friend and songwriter James Dean Hicks shared his thoughts on Tim:

He was one of the biggest personalities and talents that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He made this world a better place in all ways and was a great friend to so many. He was one of the best songwriters and was a master at writing alone. “I Let Her Lie” and “She Misses Him” are a couple of the supreme works that Tim created alone. I believe what made him happiest was writing songs with his buddies and lifting us up and sharing success with us. His mission in life was to make sure songwriters got paid and recognized for their talents. And he always made us all smile. He was the funniest guy I have ever known. He was writing until the very end and was at the top of his game. I know we will be blessed to hear many of his songs in the future. Our loss is heaven’s gain. God bless Tim Johnson and his beautiful family.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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