DKR Award
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Texas Music Legend Award

Each year, the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association not only recognizes three songwriters as inductees, but also honors those who have provided recognition and support to songwriters by presenting them with our Darrell K Royal Texas Music Legend Award. Coach Royal, the original recipient, has spent years supporting and honoring songwriters, and we’re proud to carry the spirit of his efforts forward, in his name.

Jody Williams 2016 Awardee

Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville, Jody Williams’s history with BMI begins in the mid-1970’s, when Jody was fresh out of college and working in an administrative position at the performing rights organization. His journey brought him in and out of the publishing and performing rights worlds, leading him back to BMI in May of 2006. An innovative, new-breed of BMI executive and one of Nashville’s most respected “song men,” Williams joined BMI where there, he discovered, developed and published Josh Turner; and published Liz Rose who co-wrote multiple hits with Taylor Swift during her tenure with Jody.

Over the years, Williams has amassed a wealth of experience, and throughout these different phases, he has remained a true music fan, un-jaded and sincerely interested in songwriters and their craft. Jody has held creative positions for Screen-Gems Music and Tree International, as well as Dick James Music, which made Williams the head of their Nashville office in 1986. The following year, Frances Preston invited him back to BMI, and Williams accepted and rose to the position of Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations. The publishing world lured Jody back again in 1995, this time as President of the Nashville division of MCA Music Publishing, where he reorganized the division and went on to win the prestigious ASCAP Publisher of the Year. During his latest tenure at BMI, Jody has guided the PRO to great success, directing all the writer/publisher activities in Nashville, all the while keeping a keen ear out for the greatest up-and-coming songwriters. A Nashville native, he attended the University of Denver and majored in advertising. Jody and his wife Karen (whom he met at BMI), have two sons: Driver, guitarist for Capitol Recording artist Eric Church, and Ed, Creative Manager at Sony ATV Music Publishing. Today, Jody serves on the boards of the Country Music Association (CMA), Country Music Foundation (CMF), Porter’s Call and Musicians Corner, is a mentor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and is a member of the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), The Gospel Music Association (GMA), Leadership Music, The Academy of Country Music (ACM), and the Americana Music Association (AMA).

Past Awardees

Bill Mack
Robin Shivers
Danny King
Billy Minick
Stephen Bruton
Ray Benson
View All Past Awardees
About DKR

Darrell K Royal


In fond memory

Darrell K Royal, revered across Texas and the country as a football coach, led the University of Texas to eleven conference championships and three national championships. He was not only respected for his accomplishments on the field, but also in life—a life of integrity with over half a century of service to the University and to Texas. Coach was also known for his deep love, respect and appreciation for songwriters, especially Texas songwriters.

He befriended singer-songwriters who performed around Austin and soon became friends with an individual from Abbott, Texas by the name of Willie Nelson. Starting in the late sixties, Coach and Edith threw “pickin’ parties” with the likes of Willie, Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Kris Kristofferson, Rita Coolidge, Mickey Newberry, Red Lane, Larry Gatlin, Jerry Max Lane, Freddy Powers, Sonny Throckmorton, Red Steagall and many others. He hosted both the Darrell & Willie, and the Ben Willie Darrell golf tournaments for 35 years to showcase singer-songwriters, while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. These events were important to Coach Royal because he knew that these songwriters deserved recognition for writing the songs. He wanted to share his love and appreciation for these unique wordsmiths with his friends. Coach Royal played a key role in building the foundation for the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association (TxHSA). He embraced the mission of the organization and provided valuable guidance and direction throughout the formative years. He was a fixture at all of the TxHSA events.  One of our goals is to ensure that Coach Royal’s legacy of honoring and celebrating songwriters continues indefinitely. In 2009 we established the Darrell K Royal Texas Music Legend Award to recognize and honor individuals from Texas who have made significant contributions to songwriters over the years. In 2011 we named the “pickin’ party” that is held the night before the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall Of Fame induction show, the Darrell K Royal Homecoming. Few have done as much to support songwriters over the years as Darrell Royal. Please assist us in preserving this tradition – a tradition so important to Coach Royal and to Texas culture.

2016 Key West Songwriter's Festival