Saturday, June 21
In June of 2014, we will host our annual Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Awards Show. This weekend-long celebration brings those songwriters who represent the spirit of Texas into the spotlight for a unique ceremony and inducts them into the TxHSA Hall of Fame.
Assigned to Special Services, he played fiddle in the Circle A Wranglers, a well-known service outfit previously started by PFC Faron Young. After Roger’s discharge from the Army, he headed directly for Nashville. Roger took a job as a bellhop at the Andrew Jackson Hotel where he soon became known as the “Singing Bellhop.” He would sing a song to anyone who would listen on the way up or down the elevator.
Roger got his first big break when he was hired by Minnie Pearl to play fiddle in her band. Soon after, with the help of George Jones, Roger was awarded a recording session with Starday Records. Together Roger and George wrote “Tall, Tall Trees” and “Happy Child.” From then on, Roger made a career as Nashville songwriter penning hits such as “Invitation to the Blues” (Ray Price), “That’s the way I Feel” (Faron Young), and “Billy Bayou” (Jim Reeves).
As much as he loved songwriting, Roger still wanted to make a name for himself as an artist. He signed a recording deal with RCA Records in 1960, making his first appearances on country charts with songs such as “In the Summertime” and “When Two Worlds Collide.” In 1964, Roger recorded the biggest hit of his career, “King of the Road” under Smash Records. Roger successes did not stop with the music industry. In the late 1980’s Roger won a Tony for his score in the Broadway hit Big River, a musical based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huck Finn. To date, Roger is still the only country artist to ever win this award.
Roger passed away after bravely battling lung cancer in 1992, at the young age of 56. He never let his illness faze him publicly, and he gave his unforgettable last performance during CMA week in Nashville. In 1995, Miller was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame for his indelible contribution to the industry.
Ronnie Dunn was born in Coleman, Texas to a hard living, truck driving, country music singing father and a conservative church-going mother. Dunn navigated a winding road that led him from West Texas to New Mexico, Arkansas and Oklahoma and through thirteen schools in twelve years. Music was about the only constant in life.
In 1990 Dunn moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Nashville and was introduced by Arista Records label head, Tim Dubois, to Kix Brooks. They formed a partnership that catapulted them into the hearts and souls of country music fans everywhere.
Since their initial pairing in 1990, Brooks & Dunn have been at the top of the country music singles charts 23 times with songs like “Brand New Man,” “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” “My Maria,” “Only In America and Red Dirt Road.” They are the industry’s most award-winning duo and have been named Entertainers of the Year four times. They have gathered 20 Country Music Association Awards and 28 Academy of Country Music Awards—more than any other artist in ACM history, recently surpassing the legendary Merle Haggard in 2005.
With their exceedingly popular tours and more than 30 million records sold, Brooks & Dunn dominated the music industry consistently through the fall of 2009 when they mutually decided to pursue solo careers. With a monumental farewell tour in 2010, the Last Rodeo Tour, Brooks & Dunn said goodbye to their fans as a duo and welcomed in the new chapter of their careers as solo artists.
Ronnie has twice been named the BMI Country Songwriter of the year. He was the Billboard Magazine Country Songwriter of the Year in 1996. He was inducted into the Arkansas Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2006. His song “Believe” earned him the title of Gospel Songwriter of the Year by the Gospel Music Association in 2006. Over the duration of his illustrious career, Dunn has received 23 BMI Million Airplay Awards for penning songs that have achieved one million or more radio airplay status.
While he was still in high school, Sonny was frequently used on bills that included the young Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Hank Snow. When Elvis exploded onto the music scene in 1955, Sonny, Buddy Holly, J. I. Allison and other musician friends followed suit and started rocking. Sonny made history as the first rock ‘n roller to record playing a Fender Stratocaster. One sand-stormy afternoon, Sonny wrote one of his most recognized and recorded tunes, the rock anthem “I Fought the Law,” originally recorded on the album “In Style With the Crickets.”
At age 21, Sonny rejoined the Crickets, just prior to Holly’s tragic death in a plane crash. A few months later, Sonny received his draft notice from the Army.
During the two years he was in the military, he wrote one of his classic songs, “Walk Right Back.” It was recorded by the Everly Brothers and topped the charts in the U.S. and England.
After his discharge from the Army, Sonny moved to Los Angeles. Throughout the 1970′s, Sonny applied his songwriting skills to rock, pop, country, television and radio commercials. Sonny wrote numerous nationally known jingles for clients such as McDonald’s, Buick, and Honda. During this time, he also wrote and sang the theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Love Is All Around.” Sonny moved to Nashville in 1976 where, as a member of the Crickets, he toured with Waylon Jennings for five years.
Sonny is a member of BMI’s “Million Airs Club” in recognition for “I Fought the Law,” “More Than I Can Say” (co-written with J.I. Allison), “Walk Right Back,” “The Straight Life,” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” each of which achieved one million air plays. Sonny was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International Hall of Fame in 1991, the Music City Walk of Fame in 2007, the Musicians Hall Of Fame in 2009 and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012. Sonny continues to be active in the music business and tour with The Crickets, J.I. Allison and Joe B. Mauldin.
Founded in 2005 by 6th-generation Texan Terry Boothe, the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and celebrating songwriters who have played an important role in defining and interpreting Texas’ distinct culture.
Since 2006, the Texas Heritage Songwriter’s Association (TxHSA) has produced an annual Hall of Fame Awards Show, which takes place in conjunction with Texas Independence Day to further honor the spirit of the Lone Star State. In addition to serving as the induction ceremony for that year’s honorees, the Hall of Fame Awards Show has evolved into a sell-out concert featuring acts by the inductees themselves and special guests who perform in their honor.
Since the beginning, TxHSA has been involved with both the Center for Texas Music History and the Southwestern Writer’s Collection at Texas State University in supporting young songwriters and further protecting the State’s musical heritage. The association also regularly donates a portion of its proceeds to organizations that support Texas musicians and songwriters, such as the Health Alliance for Austin’s Musicians, which provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.