Pat Higdon to be Presented Frances Preston Award

Pat Higdon

Pat Higdon

Pat Alger, Chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NSHoF), announced today that music publisher Pat Higdon will be presented with the Frances Williams Preston Mentor Award during the upcoming NSHoF Dinner and Induction Ceremony.

“Pat is one of a handful of executives in both the independent and the corporate publishing environments whose name has always been synonymous with the highest standards of professional integrity and many of our great songwriters got their start under his guidance,” said Alger.

The 44th honors, given on Oct. 5, 2014, are named for Preston who influenced and nurtured the careers of thousands of songwriters, performers and publishers in all genres of music during her five-decade career at BMI. Previous recipients of the award are music publisher Bob Beckham (2008), music publisher Bill Hall (2009), Preston (2010), music publisher David Conrad (2011), music publisher Donna Hilley (2012) and Bluebird Café founder Amy Kurland (2013).

The evening will additionally feature tributes and performances of 2014 inductees John Anderson, Tom Douglas, Gretchen Peters and Paul Craft. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) will also present 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,” as determined by the professional songwriters division.

Held at the Music City Center, tickets are $250 each by contacting Mark Ford by email or 615-460-6556.

•••

Higdon broke into the music industry in the early ‘70’s as a recording engineer Woodland Sound then Cedarwood Publishing Company, recording many artists and beginning as a song plugger.

A seven year stint at MCA Music rose the executive to Vice President of Nashville operations. He quickly developed a bond with MCA writers Dave Loggins and Jan Crutchfield, and signed Don Schlitz, Russell Smith, Lisa Silver and J. D. Martin. He continued to score hits and cuts by a wide array of artists including Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Randy Travis, BJ Thomas, The Oak Ridge Boys, Don Williams, Lee Greenwood and Tina Turner. In the late ’80s, Higdon moved to Warner Bros. Music, forging a creative partnership with Matraca Berg that has endured for over 25 years.

In 1989 Higdon founded Patrick Joseph Music as a joint venture with Warner/Chappell Music. His first signings for the new company included Berg, Gary Harrison, Jim Photoglo, Shawn Camp and Tim Mensy. Later he added a young Troy Verges and Brett James to the roster. Patrick Joseph Music’s boutique catalog include more than 30 ASCAP and BMI award winning songs, the 1998 CMA Song of the Year, “Strawberry Wine.”

Universal Music Publishing Group tapped Higdon to run its Nashville operation in 1999. He served with the company for twelve years and eventually became President of the Nashville division, overseeing catalogs of Bob McDill, Mel Tillis, Webb Pierce, Berg, Burr, Verges, Luke Laird and Rivers Rutherford. His tenure included guiding the company through three significant mergers, the first with Polygram Music, then Rondor/Almo Irving Music and finally BMG Music.

In early 2012, Higdon left UMPG and re-activated Patrick Joseph Music as a partnership with New York-based Songs Music Publishing. The company has signed five writers since relaunching, Berg, George Teren, Jake Mitchell, Ben Caver, Kat Higgins, and Mellissa Peirce (co-pub with Disney Music).

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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