Many of country music's most-heralded songwriters flocked to Nashville's BMI offices Monday (Sept. 18) to applaud both Toby Keith's music and his generosity. The DreamWorks Records star gave the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) $10,000 to launch the organization's Artist Endowment Fund. It will be used to maintain and extend copyright protection worldwide.
also used the occasion to announce that it will change its name to National Songwriters Association on Jan. 1, 2001, to reflect
its increasingly broad membership base.
"You, too, can have a party thrown in your honor for $10,000," Keith quipped
to the audience after listening to flattering remarks from his friends and associates. "Bring your checkbook," he continued,
"and we'll say the same things about you."
Among the songwriters on hand for the event were Max D. Barnes, Eddy Raven,
Marijohn Wilkin, Don Wayne, Jerry Chesnut, Victoria Shaw, Becky Hobbs, Buzz Cason, Even Stevens, Hillary Kanter, Mark Alan
Springer and Keith's frequent co-writer, Chuck Cannon. Others in the crowd were Harold Shedd, Keith's former producer and
label chief and now managing director of VFR Records, and veteran music journalist Charlie Lamb.
"It's wonderful to
have an artist you love," proclaimed James Stroud, the head of DreamWorks' country division and Keith's co-producer. "You
love his songs. You know him when you hear him on the radio."
Alluding to Keith's gift, NSAI president Mark Alan Springer
said, "It's so important that we pull together as an industry [to confront] issues that affect all our pocketbooks."
that "the artists are the ones who have the money to support this," Keith promised, "I'm going to ask these people [to contribute]
who wouldn't have a career without these songwriters."