Toby, Taylor Honored by NSAI

Toby Keith, Taylor Swift, Tammy Wynette and songwriters Kye Fleming, Mark D. Sanders, Craig Wiseman and Wynn Varble were honored at the 39th Annual Hall of Fame and Induction Ceremony at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, Oct. 18.

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Songwriter organization NSAI named Toby the Songwriter/Artist of the Decade for his body of hit songs. NSAI also presented Taylor with the Songwriter/Artist of the Year honor. Craig Wiseman, who has written such hits as "The Good Stuff" by Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," was named Songwriter of the Decade while Songwriter of the Year went to Wynn Varble, whose recent hits include "Waitin' on a Woman" by Brad Paisley and "Sounds Like Life to Me" by Darryl Worley. The main portion of the evening was devoted to the newest Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees, Tammy Wynette, Kye Fleming and Mark D. Sanders. Tammy was honored with a performance by Raul Malo on her No. 1 hit, " 'Til I Can Make It on My Own," along with a classic TV performance of Tammy singing her signature song, "Stand by Your Man." Kye Fleming, who wrote Ronnie Milsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain" as well as two of Barbara Mandrell's biggest hits, "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed" and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," was appropriately inducted into the Hall of Fame by Barbara. Mark, whose hits include "It Matters to Me" by Faith Hill and Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," was inducted by fellow songwriter Bob DiPiero. Toby's acceptance speech included a tribute to all songwriters, calling them "the lifeblood of this industry." Toby added, "I was a writer when I first got here to Nashville. I take a lot of pride in it." Taylor told the assembled audience of songwriters, media and industry executives, "The people who told stories, the songwriters, were my heroes." Before the event, Taylor met with reporters and commented that her inspiration for writing has always been relationships and "the prospect of a happy ending. I've always left the traveling aspect out of my writing. I try to stick with feelings and emotions."

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