Lester & Earl Nominated for Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

Lester Flatt & Earl ScruggsThe Nashville Songwriters Association International has announced its 2007 nominees for induction into its Hall of Fame.

The list is divided into two categories, songwriter and songwriter/artist. The songwriter category is for persons who do not have a career as an artist, but have achieved a measure of commercial success or recognition at least 20 years ago. The songwriter/artist category is for those persons who do have a career as an artist and have also achieved success as songwriters.

This year’s list includes the names of bluegrass legends Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs. Of course, they are in the songwriter/artist category along with four other nominees. One of the five nominees in this category will be chosen for induction into the Hall of Fame at a dinner scheduled for October 14, 2007.

The group of nominees was recommended to the board by the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation (NaSHOF) Nominating Committee, which is comprised of Hall of Fame members and Music Row historians. Votes are cast by Hall of Fame members, Professional Songwriter members of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and the boards of the NaSHOF and NSAI.

In addition to Flatt & Scruggs, Paul Craft and L.E. White are both nominated in the songwriter category. Both of these writers have had ties to the bluegrass community over the years.

The complete list of nominees, along with biographical information on each one, is available here.

  • Jon Weisberger

    Just wanted to add a quick note about Paul Craft, because saying he’s had ties to the bluegrass community over the years doesn’t quite do him justice; it’s more accurate to say that he’s been a part of the bluegrass community for more than 40 years. He’s the banjo player and baritone singer on some of Jimmy Martin’s best-loved cuts from the early 60s, like “Mr. Engineer” and “Drink Up And Go Home”; he followed Crowe in that job and was succeeded by Bill Emerson, and I think a lot of folks believe it’s one of those guys they’re hearing on such songs, when it’s actually Paul. He also recorded occasionally with folks like Bill Clifton and the Seldom Scene, and has released several fine bluegrass albums of his own on the Netherlands’ Strictly Country label, including a new one called Too Bad You’re No Good, as reported here on Bluegrass Today back in February (http://www.bluegrasstoday.com/new-cd-from-paul-craft) – at which time John correctly called him “one of the premiere songwriters in bluegrass music.”

    And indeed, that characterization is hard to argue with. Paul wrote or co-wrote such gems as “Midnight Flyer,” “Blue Heartache,” “Fastest Grass Alive,” “Through The Bottom Of A Glass” and “Keep Me From Blowing Away,” but he’s had other songs recorded by Claire Lynch, Lou Reid & Carolina, the Special Consensus, the Virginia Squires, Mike Auldridge, the Lewis Family, Don Rigsby and Charlie Sizemore – and not just in the past, but recently, too; Sally Jones has his “Go Lightly” out on her brand new CD, while Charlie Sizemore has two Craft songs on his new release, Good News. And almost all of these aren’t covers of country records, they’re original – and bluegrass – recordings. Paul continues to be active and involved in Nashville’s bluegrass scene, too, and can frequently be found checking out appearances (and pitching songs) at the Station Inn.

    In my opinion, if Paul’s elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame, bluegrassers will have every bit as much reason to take pride in the acknowledgement of the accomplishments of one of their own as if Lester and Earl are. Maybe there’ll be a bluegrass sweep!