On November 2, 2020 the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame announced the newest class of inductees to the Hall of Fame.

Due to the ongoing issues with the Covid-19 virus, the annual induction ceremonies have been put on hold until next year; along with the 2021 class and join the 219 inducted Hall of Famers. Steve Earle, Bobbie Gentry, Kent Blazy, Brett James and Spooner Oldham were chosen from a list of 12 nominees.

For the past 50 years the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame has been paying tribute to the artists and songwriters who create the music.

The chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame spoke on the event saying, “this year marks our 50th year to welcome a new class into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. And although our year has looked different, we couldn’t be more excited to continue our commitment and core mission by announcing the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Class of 2020.”

Kentucky native Kent Blazy has been penning songs for Nashville artists since 1982. His music has had his music recorded by numerous artists including Gary Morris, The Forester Sisters, T. Graham Brown, Donna Fargo, Moe Bandy, Danny Gokey, Chris Young, and gave Garth Brooks his first number one single – “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.

Oklahoma City native Brett James traded his stethoscope in for a guitar. James first performed his own music and then began writing songs for other artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Rodney Atkins, Rascal Flatts, Chris Young, Brantley Gilbert, Paulina Rubio, and Carrie Underwood where he earned several awards including a Grammy Award for “Jesus Take the Wheel”. James is a two time ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year award winner.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Dewey Lindon “Spooner” Oldham began as a session keyboard player in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. After relocating to Memphis, Tennessee Oldham paired up with Dan Penn and began creating R&B hits. Their music has been recorded by James and Bobby Purify, Percy Sledge, The Box Tops, The Sweet Inspirations, Jimmy Hughes, Solomon Burke, and Laura Lee. As a solo songwriter Spooner composed music for Bob Luman, Steve Wariner, and Freddy Weller. As a musician, he played keyboards for numerous artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joe Cocker, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, and Dickey Betts.

Steve Earle has been inducted as an artist songwriter. His resume as a performer include sharing the stage with Guy Clark and his own band The Dukes. Johnny Lee, Patty Loveless, T. Graham Brown, Joe Nichols, The Grascals, Noclette Larson, Kathy Mattea, Lee Ann Womack, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Bob Seger, and Miranda have all recorded his songs.

The veteran artist and songwriter Roberta Lee Streeter, better known as Bobbie Gentry, composed her first song at age seven on grandparents farm. She also taught herself how to play several instruments. But it wasn’t until she was in college at UCLA that she began performing. It was the flip side to her debut single “Mississippi Delta” that launched her into stardom with the song “Ode to Billie Joe”. “Fancy” “Mornin’ Glory”, and “But I Can’t Get Back” were all written by and became hits for Gentry,

photo credits: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Facebook page