Toby Keith, Amy Grant + More Are Joining the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
Also named in this year's incoming class are producer/songwriter Buddy Cannon — known for, among many other things, his longstanding songwriting relationship with Willie Nelson — and songwriter John Scott Sherrill.
For his part, Akins has been a mainstay of the country genre since the early '90s. In addition to charting 14 singles as a performing artist — including hits like "That Ain't My Truck" and the No. 1 "Don't Get Me Started" — he continues to be one of the industry's most in-demand songwriters to this day, penning hits for Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi, Dustin Lynch and even Akins' own country superstar son, Thomas Rhett.
Grant broke into the Contemporary Christian mainstream with her Age to Age album, and ever since then, she's enjoyed perennial fame in the realms of pop, gospel and country. Her diverse catalog includes a robust collection of holiday music, and she and her country superstar husband Vince Gill have a longstanding tradition of celebrating Christmas with a series of shows at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
A bonafide country superstar whose most recent releases include "Old School," "Happy Birthday America" and the tongue-in-cheek "Worst Country Song of All Time," Keith has been building his own brand of delightfully irreverent country songwriting ever since he debuted in '93 with his self-penned "Should've Been a Cowboy." While songs of his like "Red Solo Cup" and "Beer for My Horses" have been known to provoke some critical eyerolls, Keith's songwriting continues to land him accolade after accolade: He was named BMI Songwriter of the Year in 2001 and 2006, and was also BMI's Songwriter of the Decade for the aughts. In 2015, he also joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York.
"Today is one of my favorite days of the year, as we begin our journey to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala in November with the announcement of our upcoming class," explains Sarah Cates, who is the chair of the organization's board of directors.
Akins and Cannon will join the Hall of Fame in the songwriter category. Sherrill enters via the veteran songwriter category; Keith is being inducted into the songwriter/artist category, and Grant will be this year's veteran songwriter/artist inductee.
The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame's five newest inductees will be celebrated on Nov. 1 during an official gala at Nashville's Music City Center. This year's event technically marks the 51st round of inductees into the Hall; however, last year's gala was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the 50th class of inductees — Steve Earle, Bobbie Gentry, Kent Blazy, Brett James and Spooner Oldham — will also be celebrated during the 2021 event.
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