The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences will debut a segment of its documentary on Nashville songwriters to an invitation-only audience of music industry figures Jan. 13 in Nashville.
Called Nashville Songwriters: A Grammy Living History Program, the film is a part of NARAS’ ongoing project to chronicle popular music of all types through the voices and images of the people who created it.
NARAS plans to make the films available to the public through selected university libraries and such dedicated research facilities as the Country Music Foundation. Edited versions of the programs will be kept on hand at chapter offices throughout the U. S., while the raw footage will be preserved at NARAS’ national headquarters.
Produced by writer and scholar Robert K. Oermann, the segment to be previewed covers many of Nashville’s major contributions to country and pop music between 1955 and 1975. It uses historical film footage and photographs, as well as recent on-camera interviews with songwriters, publishers, and record producers, to trace the rise of the community now known as “Music Row.”
Among those sharing their recollections of how particular songs, publishing companies and other musical institutions came into being are Joe Allison, Bill Anderson, Casey Anderson, Liz Anderson, Chet Atkins, Ray Baker, Bob Beckham, Rory Michael Bourke, Bobby Braddock, Jerry Bradley, Felice Bryant, Buzz Cason, Jerry Chesnut, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Sonny Curtis, Bill Denny and Danny Dill.
Also Don Everly, Donna Fargo, Fred Foster, Jerry Foster, Dallas Frazier, Harlan Howard, Waylon Jennings, Merle Kilgore, Buddy Killen, D. Kilpatrick, Red Lane, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Bill Mack, Billy Mize, Bob Montgomery, Buck Owens, A. L. “Doodle” Owens, Bill Rice, Johnny Russell, Whitey Shafer, Glenn Sutton, Floyd Tillman, Cindy Walker, Don Wayne, Marijohn Wilkin and Norro Wilson.
“It’s fascinating,” says Nancy Shapiro, senior executive director of Nashville operations for NARAS. “It’s the kind of program you could look at all day.” In many ways, she notes, the stories told by those interviewed are as lyrical, moving and spirited as their music.