This year’s inductees bring the total number of songwriters in the Hall to 218. Though country songwriters predominate, the body includes “writers from all genres of music,” according to a NaSHOF mission statement. The Nashville Hall dates to 1970 – the same year the Songwriters Hall of Fame launched.
The announcement was made Tuesday (July 13) by Sarah Cates, chair of the organization’s board of directors, and Mark Ford, its executive director.
Four of the five inductees have received Grammy nominations for best country song: Akins in 2018 for co-writing Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It,” Cannon in 2007 for co-writing George Strait’s “Give It Away,” Keith in 2003 for co-writing his own “Beer for My Horses” (a collab with Willie Nelson), and Grant in 2011 for co-writing Vince Gill’s “Threaten Me With Heaven.” In addition, Grant was nominated in the overall song of the year category in 1991 for co-writing her own “Baby Baby,” a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Grant is married to Gill, who was inducted in 2005. They are among the few married couples in the NaSHOF. Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, best known for writing classics for the Everly Brothers, were inducted as a couple in 1972.
Keith was inducted into the New York-based Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. It’s relatively rare for a songwriter to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame before its Nashville counterpart. This last happened with Will Jennings, who was inducted into the SHOF in 2006 and the NaSHOF in 2013.
Here's a capsule look at each of this year's honorees:
Akins’ songwriter credits include his own “That Ain’t My Truck,” as well as “Honey Bee” (Shelton) and “It Goes Like This” (Thomas Rhett). Akins, 51, is the father of red-hot country star Rhett.
Cannon’s résumé includes “Set ’Em Up Joe” (Vern Gosdin) and “I’ve Come to Expect It From You” (Strait). Cannon, 74, was born in Lexington, Tenn.
Sherrill’s hits include “Wild and Blue” (John Anderson), “The Church on Cumberland Road” (Shenandoah) and “How Long Gone” (Brooks & Dunn). Sherrill was born and raised in Chappaqua, N.Y., and in Uganda and Bolivia.
Grant popularized many of her own compositions, including “Baby Baby,” “That’s What Love Is For” and “Tennessee Christmas.” Grant, 60, was raised in Nashville.
Keith likewise popularized many of his compositions, including “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” “How Do You Like Me Now?!” and “As Good As I Once Was.” Keith, an Oklahoma native, is also 60.
Starting in September, select public seating for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame gala may be purchased as available by contacting executive director Mark Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operated by the nonprofit Nashville Songwriters Foundation, the Hall of Fame is dedicated to honoring Nashville’s rich legacy of songwriting excellence. More information is available here.