13 songwriters have been announced as nominees for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (NaSHOF). The new group will be among those honored at the 53rd Anniversary Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala, taking place on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Music City Center.
“We congratulate this year’s nominees in our contemporary categories. Their nominations are richly deserved,” says NaSHOF Executive Director Mark Ford. “We look forward in several weeks to announcing those who will be inducted this fall as members of our Class of 2023.”
The 2023 nominees in the Contemporary Songwriters category are Casey Beathard, Shawn Camp, Jim Collins, Don Henry, David Lee Murphy, Leslie Satcher, Darrell Scott and Victoria Shaw. The 2023 nominees in the Contemporary Songwriter/Artists category are Steven Curtis Chapman, Martie Maguire, Keith Urban and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who are nominated as a team.
All nominees experienced their first significant songs at least 20 years ago. A total of two songwriters and one artist-songwriter will be elected from the contemporary categories by members of the Hall of Fame along with other professional songwriters and artists from a variety of genres who are prominently associated with Nashville and who have written/co-written at least one original and significant Nashville song.
In addition, three more will be named to the Class of 2023. A separate body of veteran voters will elect a Veteran Songwriter, a Veteran Songwriter/Artist and a Legacy Songwriter (deceased), all of whom experienced their first significant songs at least 30 years ago. As part of that process, nominees in those categories are not announced.
For biographical information on the 2023 nominees, see below:
Category 1 – Contemporary Songwriters
Born in California, Casey Beathard grew up in Vienna, VA (near Arlington). In 1990 he graduated from Elon College in North Carolina with a degree in business management. The following year he moved to Nashville, where he worked jobs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bluebird Café. By 1998 Casey had his first writing deal and the title track of Kenny Chesney’s I Will Stand album. By 2001 Casey had his first Top 10 song, and in 2002 his “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo” by Tracy Byrd had reached No. 1. From there the floodgates opened for more chart-toppers: “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” by Tracy Lawrence and “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)” by Rodney Atkins, as well as “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” “Don’t Blink” and “The Boys Of Fall” – all by Kenny Chesney. Casey’s hits with frequent collaborator Eric Church have yielded hits such as “Like Jesus Does,” “Like A Wrecking Ball” and “Hell Of A View.” Casey’s co-written “There Was Jesus” by Zach Williams & Dolly Parton was a Christian AC hit and earned the 2021 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song. Casey was BMI’s 2004 and 2008 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year and the 2008 NSAI Songwriter of the Year.
Shawn Camp grew up on a farm outside of Perryville, AR. Shawn picked up a guitar at age five and by age 20 had moved to Nashville, where he found work in the late ’80s as a fiddle player in backing bands for The Osborne Brothers, Jerry Reed, Alan Jackson and Trisha Yearwood. After charting a pair of self-penned singles in 1993 as a Warner Bros. recording artist, Shawn turned his attention to writing songs for other artists — earning his first No. 1 hits in 1998 with “Two Piña Coladas” by Garth Brooks and “How Long Gone” by Brooks & Dunn. In 2006, he had Top 5 singles with “Nobody But Me” by Blake Shelton and “Would You Go With Me” by Josh Turner. Shawn also co-wrote Turner’s “Firecracker,” as well as “River Of Love” by George Strait and “Love Done Gone” by Billy Currington. Shawn’s songs have also been hits for bluegrass artists such as Ricky Skaggs, The Lonesome River Band and Don Rigsby. Shawn’s “We Know Where He Is” by The Del McCoury Band was a 2007 GMA bluegrass song nominee and his “My Quiet Mind” by The Gibson Brothers was a 2018 SPBGMA bluegrass song nominee. In the Americana field, Shawn’s “My Love Will Not Change” by Aubrie Sellers w/ Steve Earle was an AMA song nominee in 2020.
Jim Collins grew up on a dairy farm in Nacogdoches, TX. Gifted his first guitar at age 10, he played his first professional gig at 12, later moving on to various rock bands throughout high school. In the 1980s Jim began playing country music and writing original songs. He played the Texas music scene until 1995, when he moved to Nashville. Within a few months he had a publishing deal and was an in-demand demo singer. His first cut came in 1997 and his first Top 10 two years later. By 2000 Jim had his first No. 1 song with “Yes!” by Chad Brock. Jim’s particular success with Kenny Chesney has yielded hits such as “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven,” as well as “The Good Stuff,” which was named the 2002 ACM Single of the Year and the 2003 ASCAP Country Song of the Year. Other hits written by Jim include “Then They Do” by Trace Adkins, “It Just Comes Natural” by George Strait, “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean, “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today” by Gretchen Wilson (a 2006 Grammy nominee for best country song), “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square (a 2011 Grammy nominee for best country song) and “Damn Strait” by Scotty McCreery. Jim is a 2020 inductee into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
California native Don Henry began writing songs at age 13. By the late 1970s, he was ready to give Nashville a try. His early successes came from cuts by T.G. Sheppard and John Conlee, who singled “Blue Highway.” Conlee also recorded “Class Reunion,” as did The Oak Ridge Boys, Gene Watson and Ray Charles. Kathy Mattea has recorded a several of Don’s songs, including “Beautiful Fool,” “Whole Lotta Holes,” and the heart-wrenching “Where’ve You Been.” Also recorded by Patti Page and Dailey & Vincent, that song earned the 1990 Grammy for Best Country Song, as well as the 1989 ACM Song of the Year, the 1990 CMA Song of the Year and the 1990 NSAI Song of the Year. In 1993 Don released a critically acclaimed album on Sony Records titled Wild in the Backyard. Many of those songs, such as “Harley” and “Mr. God” have become staples in his solo acoustic performance repertoire. Among other hits from Don’s catalogue are “Heart Vs. Heart” by Pake McEntire, “Has Anybody Seen Amy?” by John & Audrey Wiggins and “All Kinds Of Kinds” by Miranda Lambert. Don also records and performs in the duo The Don Juans.
David Lee Murphy
David Lee Murphy developed his musical style as a teenager in Southern Illinois. Moving to Nashville in 1983, David Lee spent years honing his craft as a songwriter. During that time he formed a band, The Blue Tick Hounds, and played honky tonks across middle Tennessee and clubs throughout the south until he was signed to MCA Records a decade later. David Lee’s 1994 Platinum-selling debut album (the first of five solo efforts) yielded the hit singles “Party Crowd” (Radio & Records’ most played song on country radio in 1995) and the No. 1 single “Dust On The Bottle.” Beyond his own hits, David Lee began writing songs for other artists in the early 2000s. Among his five No. 1 hits recorded by Kenny Chesney are “Living In Fast Forward,” “Here And Now” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (a duet with David Lee that earned the 2018 CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year). Some of David Lee’s other No. 1 songs include “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square (a 2011 Grammy nominee for best country song) “Anywhere With You” by Jake Owen, “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan & Eric Church and “Why We Drink” by Justin Moore.
Leslie Satcher grew up singing in churches and schools in her hometown of Paris, TX, before moving to Nashville to become an artist. During her first few years in town, she was befriend by Naomi Judd and Max D. Barnes, who helped her secure her first publishing deal at Island Bound Music. By the mid-1990s Leslie was receiving major-label cuts, then her first hit single in 1998 with “I Said A Prayer” by Pam Tillis. By the end of the decade, Leslie’s “There’s Only One” by Susie Luchsinger had become a 2000 GMA bluegrass song nominee. Also in 2000, Leslie signed as an artist with Warner Bros. Records, where she recorded a critically acclaimed debut album, Love Letters. As a songwriter, Leslie’s country hits include “When God-Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” by Martina McBride, “Cadillac Tears” by Kevin Denney, “Troubadour” by George Strait, “Tough” by Kellie Pickler and “Politically Uncorrect” by Gretchen Wilson w/ Merle Haggard. Leslie’s Bluegrass hits include “Too Good To Be True” by Alecia Nugent, “Where The Trees Know My Name” by Larry Cordle and “From Your Knees” by The Farm Hands, an SPBGMA Bluegrass song nominee in 2015.
Darrell Scott was born in the rural farming town of London, KY, then moved with his family to East Gary, IN. Darrell’s father encouraged each member of the family to play an instrument in the family band. By age 16, Darrell was playing bar gigs around southern California. After stints in Canada and Boston, Darrell moved to Nashville, where he joined Guy Clark’s band and began to play on sessions. Soon after, his songs began finding homes across a variety of genres. In the country world, he hit with “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” by Travis Tritt, “Born To Fly” by Sara Evans (a 2001 CMA song nominee) and “Long Time Gone” by The Chicks (a 2002 Grammy nominee for best country song and a 2003 IBMA song nominee). Darrell’s Bluegrass hits include “Banjo Clark” by Sam Bush, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Patty Loveless, “Cumberland Plateau” by Darin & Brooke Aldridge and “Bleeding For A Little Peace Of Mind” by Blue Highway (a 2011 SPBGMA song nominee). Darrell’s Americana recording of “Hank Williams’ Ghost” was the 2007 AMA Song of the Year, while “Heavy Is The Head” by Zac Brown Band w/ Chris Cornell was a No. 1 Rock song in 2015. Darrell was named 2000-2001 NSAI Songwriter of the Year and. 2002 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
Born in Manhattan, NY, Victoria Shaw moved with her family to Los Angeles at age five. Victoria wrote her first song at age 11 and at 13 formed her own band. At 18, she moved back to New York, where she managed a studio during the day and played in piano bars at night as she worked to launch her career as a singer-songwriter. After some encouraging success in New York, Victoria began commuting to Nashville in 1983. In 1990 Gary Morris signed her to his publishing company, and by 1993, Victoria earned a CMA Triple Play award for three No. 1 hits: “The River” by Garth Brooks, “Too Busy Being In Love” by Doug Stone and “I Love The Way You Love Me” by John Michael Montgomery which was named the 1993 ACM Song of the Year. In addition to hits such as “She’s Every Woman” by Garth Brooks and “We Don’t Have To Do This” by Tanya Tucker, Victoria’s songs have been recorded by artists such as Jim Brickman (“Fa La La” and “Sending You A Little Christmas”) and Ricky Martin & Christina Aguilera (“Nobody Wants To Be Lonely”). Victoria has also earned Daytime Emmy Awards (Outstanding Original Song) for “This Is Our Moment” by Olivia Newton-John (1999 – from As The World Turns) and “When I Think Of You” by Victoria Shaw (2000 – from One Life To Live).
Category 2 – Contemporary Songwriter/Artists
Steven Curtis Chapman
The most awarded artist in Christian music history, Steven Curtis Chapman grew up in Paducah, Kentucky, where he learned to play guitar at a young age by hanging out in his father’s music store. Following a brief college career as a pre-med student, Steven moved to Nashville to pursue music. The 1987 release of his debut album, First Hand, launched a flood of awards for his self-penned hits, including “His Eyes” (the GMA’s 1989 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year), “His Strength Is Perfect” (the GMA’s 1990 Inspirational Song of the Year), “The Great Adventure” (the GMA’s 1993 Song of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year), “Go There With You” (the GMA’s 1994 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year), “Heaven In The Real World” (the GMA’s 1995 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year), “Let Us Pray” (the GMA’s 1998 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year) and “Dive” (the GMA’s 2000 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year). Other award-winning songs from Steven’s catalogue include “I Can See The Hand Of God” by The Cathedrals (the GMA’s 1990 Southern Gospel Song Of The Year) and “Voice Of Truth” by Casting Crowns (the GMA’s 2005 Inspirational Song of the Year). One of the most-honored artists in the history of Christian music, Steven is a 10-time winner of the GMA’s Songwriter of the Year award (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2009), as well as NSAI’s 1999 Songwriter/Artist of the Year. A four-time BMI Christian Songwriter of the Year (2001, 2003, 2004, 2010), he is the first Christian music songwriter to receive the BMI Icon Award (2022). In 2023, “Don’t Lose Heart” became his 50th self-penned No. 1 single as an artist.
Born in York, PA, Martie Maguire was raised in Addison, TX (near Dallas). She began learning violin at age five, and by her teenage years was placing in national fiddle competitions and playing in a high-school Bluegrass quartet. In 1989 she co-founded The Dixie Chicks, which released three albums in the early 1990s. Several years later, the group revamped its lineup then signed with Monument Records in Nashville. The band took off and so did her songwriting. In 1999 Martie’s “You Were Mine” became the band’s third No. 1 single, followed by “Ready To Run” (a 1999 Grammy nominee for best country song and featured in the film Runaway Bride) and “Cowboy Take Me Away” (later nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 as part of the Urban Cowboy musical). More of Martie’s songs became hits for the band (which changed its name to The Chicks in 2020), including “White Trash Wedding,” “Gaslighter,” “Everybody Knows,” “March March” and “Sleep At Night.” The band’s “I Hope” was a 2005 Grammy nominee for best country song, while their pop hit “Not Ready To Make Nice” earned the 2007 Grammy for Best Song. Martie was a 2000 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year.
Born in New Zealand, Keith Urban moved with his family to Australia when he was two. Showing an early interest in music, he began playing the ukulele at age four and the guitar by age six. As his musicianship progressed, Keith began entering guitar competitions and acting in local theater. By the mid-1980s he was making inroads into the Australian country music scene. In 1991 he released a self-titled debut album, charting four singles in Australia before moving to Nashville in 1992. After an album in 1997 on Capitol as part of The Ranch, Keith’s U.S. solo debut yielded his first self-penned No. 1, “But For The Grace Of God,” in 2001. As a songwriter, Keith has topped the charts with other hits, including “Somebody Like You,” “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” “Days Go By,” “Long Hot Summer” and “The Fighter” (duet with Carrie Underwood). Keith’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry” was a 2006 CMA song of the year nominee, while “Better Life” was a 2006 CMA single of the year nominee. “For You,” featured in the film Act of Valor, was a 2012 Golden Globe best original song nominee. “Sweet Thing” was named the 2009 SESAC Country Song of the Year.
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings share a musical/songwriting partnership spanning three decades. L.A.-raised Gillian moved to Nashville in 1992. Rhode Island-native David arrived soon after, and the two became a duo (performing as “Gillian Welch”). Since their debut album in 1996, Gillian & David have crafted critically acclaimed songs encompassing a wide variety of genres. Some of the duo’s best-known songs include “Orphan Girl,” “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High),” “Elvis Presley Blues,” “455 Rocket” (also a Country hit for Kathy Mattea) and “Tear My Stillhouse Down” (also a No. 1 bluegrass hit for The Nashville Bluegrass Band). “I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll” was a 2002 AMA song of the year nominee. “Ruby” was a 2010 AMA song of the year nominee. The Dailey & Vincent version of Gillian & David’s “By The Mark” reached No. 2 Bluegrass and was the 2009 SPBGMA Bluegrass Song of the Year. Gillian & David’s “Cumberland Gap” was a 2018 Grammy nominee for best roots song. Also in 2018, the duo’s “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” recorded by Tim Blake Nelson & Willie Nelson for the film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, was an Oscar nominee for best original song. In 2015 Gillian & David received the AMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriters.
- Parker McCollum Celebrates Three No. 1 Hits - September 22, 2023
- Morgan Wallen Takes ‘Everything I Love’ To Top Of MusicRow Chart - September 22, 2023
- CMA Foundation Honors Music Teachers Of Excellence - September 21, 2023