SongwritersHOFPhotos by:  Bev Moser

Walt Aldridge, Dewayne Blackwell, Vern Gosdin, Jim McBride and Tim Nichols were officially inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Fame last night. The five were honored in front of a sold-out industry crowd of more than 1,000 at NaSHOF’s 47thAnniversary Hall of Fame Gala held at the Music City Center.  The event celebrated the musical contributions of the newest inductees through star-studded performances of some of their biggest hits.

“Each year our organization has the distinct pleasure of honoring some of the best of the best songwriters in our community with induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Fame member Pat Alger, Board Chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation. “This year we have five songwriters who have made a name for themselves by leaving their unique mark on the legacy of Nashville songwriting. They exemplify the highest standards that have helped make Nashville the songwriting capital of the world. We are pleased to welcome the class of 2017: Walt Aldridge and Tim Nichols in the Songwriter category, Dewayne Blackwell and Jim McBride in the Veteran Songwritercategory and Vern Gosdin in the Songwriter/Artist category.”

Walt Aldridge was inducted by Hall of Fame songwriter Mac McAnally. James LeBlanc performed “Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde” and Earl Thomas Conley performed “Holding Her And Loving You.”

Vern Gosdin, who passed away in 2009, was inducted by longtime friend/music producer Buddy Cannon.  Gosdin himself performed “Chiseled In Stone” via a video clip from the Grand Ole Opry.  Capitol Nashville recording artist Luke Bryan performed “Set ‘Em Up Joe.”  Gosdin’s award was accepted by Cannon.

Jim McBride was inducted by longtime friend/hit songwriter Jerry Salley. The Lonesome River Bandperformed “Rose In Paradise.”  Hall of Fame songwriter/Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Alan Jackson performed a medley including “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and “Chattahoochee.”

Tim Nichols was inducted by longtime friend/music publisher Rusty Gaston.  Lee Ann Womackperformed “I’m Over You.”  Broken Bow recording artist Dustin Lynch performed “Cowboys & Angels” and “Live Like You Were Dying.”

Dewayne Blackwell was inducted by NaSHOF Board Member and MTSU Dean  Ken Paulson.  The Bundys performed “Mr. Blue” and Red Bow recording artist Craig Campbell performed “Friends In Low Places.”  The ailing Blackwell was represented by his son Gentry.

In addition to the inductions by the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the evening also featured presentations from the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which presented its annual awards.

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” was named 2017 Song of the Year by the professional songwriter members of NSAI.  Written by Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey and Steven Lee Olsen (recorded by Keith Urban), the songwriters performed their hit at the annual awards show. Lindsey made history by tying a record held for 44-years by Kris Kristofferson as the only three-time NSAI Song of the Year winners.

For the second consecutive year and three times overall, tunesmith Ashley Gorley was named NSAISongwriter of the Year.  Co-writer of hits such as “American Country Love Song” (recorded by Jake Owen), “Black” (recorded by Dierks Bentley), “Dirt on My Boots” (recorded by Jon Pardi), “Dirty Laundry” (recorded by Carrie Underwood), “Guy With A Girl” (recorded by Blake Shelton), “Today” (recorded by Brad Paisley) and “T-Shirt” (recorded by Thomas Rhett), Gorley has become one of the most prolific hit songwriters in Nashville history.

Luke Bryan was recipient of the NSAI Songwriter-Artist of the Year Award.  Bryan’s first such NSAI award was for songs including: “Fast,” “Huntin’, Fishin’, and Lovin’ Every Day,” and “Move,” three of six hits to reach the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart from his Kill the Lights album.

In addition to honoring the Song, Songwriter and Songwriter-Artist of the year, NSAI presented the coveted 10 Songs I Wish I’d Written Awards, voted on by NSAI’s Professional Membership, to the following writers and their songs: “80s MERCEDES” (busbee, MAREN MORRIS / recorded by Maren Morris), “BETTER MAN” (TAYLOR SWIFT / recorded by Little Big Town), “BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD” (JOSH OSBORNE, SAM HUNT, SHANE MCANALLY, ZACH CROWELL / recorded by Sam Hunt), “DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS” (JT HARDING, SHANE MCANALLY / recorded by Dierks Bentley ft. Elle King), “DIRT ON MY BOOTS” (ASHLEY GORLEY, JESSE FRASURE, RHETT AKINS / recorded by Jon Pardi), “DRINKIN’ PROBLEM” (CAMERON DUDDY, JESS CARSON, JOSH OSBORNE, MARK WYSTRACH, SHANE MCANALLY / recorded by Midland), “H.O.L.Y.”(busbee, NATE CYPHERT, WILLIAM LARSEN / recorded by Florida Georgia Line), “KILL A WORD” (ERIC CHURCH, JEFF HYDE, LUKE DICK / recorded by Eric Church), “PETER PAN”(FOREST GLEN WHITEHEAD, JESSE LEE, KELSEA BALLERINI / recorded by Kelsea Ballerini) and “VICE” (JOSH OSBORNE, MIRANDA LAMBERT, SHANE MCANALLY / recorded by Miranda Lambert).