Bobbie Gentry and Steve Earle are among the newly-announced inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Following the delay caused by coronavirus, the latest set of honorees will be inducted at next year’s ceremony, along with the new members for 2021, next November 1, at Nashville’s Music City Center.
Gentry, the latterly reclusive singer-songwriter who was a constant presence on the country scene, and what is now known as Americana, in the early 1970s, is recognized in the veteran songwriter category. The ever-creative Earle is selected as songwriter/artist; his 20th studio album Ghosts of West Virginia was released in May.
The new Hall of Fame members, who take the total of honorees to 224, also include three other highly distinguished composers. Kent Blazy and Brett James are selected in the songwriter category, Blazy as the co-writer of such staples as Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Ain’t Goin’ Down Til the Sun Comes Up,” and James as co-composer of such No.1s as Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” Martina McBride’s “Blessed” and Jason Aldean’s “The Truth.”
Saluting an Alabama veteran
Selected in the veteran songwriter category in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is Dewey “Spooner” Oldham. The seasoned Alabama songsmith is revered both as a session player and for his timeless work with Dan Penn on such soul classics as James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet” and the Box Tops’ “Cry Like A Baby” and “I Met Her In Church” and Janis Joplin’s “A Woman Left Lonely.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
“This year marks our 50th year to welcome a new class into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame,” says board chair Sarah Cates. “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.
“It’s our great honor today to welcome our class of 2020: Kent Blazy and Brett James in the songwriter category; Spooner Oldham in the veteran songwriter category, Steve Earle as our songwriter/artist and Bobbie Gentry as our veteran songwriter/artist.”
Listen to the best of Bobbie Gentry on Spotify.