Ronnie Dunn, Roger Miller and Sonny Curtis to be inducted into Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame
Two country music superstars with Oklahoma ties will be inducted next month into the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Ronnie Dunn – who was born in Coleman, Texas, but got his musical start in Tulsa, where he fronted the house band at the popular nightspot Duke’s Country and then broke into the national spotlight by winning the Marlboro Talent Competition – and the late Roger Miller – who was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but was just a year old when he moved in with his relatives on a cotton farm outside Erick after his father passed away.
Sonny Curtis, best known for playing with Buddy Holly in the Crickets, also will join the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
“My music journey started in Texas, and I’m proud that Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association is bringing me back home to accept this award,” said Ronnie Dunn in a news release. “It’s a privilege to join the hall of fame with other talented artists I consider friends and mentors.”
The Eighth Annual Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Awards Show will take place March 3 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas.
Each year, the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association honors songwriters during a live awards show and induction ceremony. The inductees are those who embody and celebrate the unique history and culture of Texas through their songwriting.
“Starting out in West Texas, my songwriting career was profoundly influenced by those musical beginnings,” Sonny Curtis said of his time as lead guitarist with Buddy Holly and the Crickets. “I, like so many other writers and artists, owe a large part of my inspiration to Texas and its musicians.”
Dunn and Curtis will offer a featured performance after accepting their awards. Plus, Jack Ingram will open the show; Hall of Famer Larry Gatlin will perform; and Oklahoma country music superstar Toby Keith will deliver a special performance in honor of one of his most loved songwriters of all time, Roger Miller.
“Roger Miller was so intelligent that many of the greats would follow him around just for inspiration, just to hear him talk. He said some of the most famous quotes ever,” said Toby Keith in the release. “If you want to hear cleverness, you want to hear wit, and you want to hear charm-you want to hear a ‘Class A’ songwriter, it’s Roger Miller.”
This event brings together past Hall of Fame inductees and honors those whose contributions allow Texas songwriters to continue doing what they do best. Every year at the Hall of Fame Awards show, one person is recognized for their support of the songwriting community with The Darrell K Royal Patron Award. This year’s recipient is the late Robin Ratliff Shivers, Founder of HAAM, longtime philanthropist and enduring supporter of the music community in Austin.
“This year marks our biggest show yet,” says Joe Ables, Executive Producer of the show and owner of The Saxon Pub, a renowned live music venue in Austin. “Some of the biggest names in country music are coming together in celebration of the Lone Star state’s extraordinary music, unique history, and distinct heritage.”
The Hall of Fame Awards Show will close out the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association’s weekend-long homecoming celebration, which takes place March 2-3 and is packed with performances from past inductees, Grammy nominees and recipients, and renowned songwriters and recording artists.
On March 2, the association will host the Darrell K Royal Songwriters’ Homecoming, a VIP/sponsor party at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, where Chris Stapleton, Scotty Emerick and Mac McAnally will take the stage for an intimate acoustic performance.
Read more about the three 2013 Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductees after the break.
2013 Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame inductees
Roger Dean Miller was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1936. At just one year old, Roger moved in with his relatives on a cotton farm outside Erick, Oklahoma after his father passed away. Roger was a dreamer and his heart was never in picking cotton. To combat the boredom of small town life, he started composing songs during his three-mile walk to school each day. At 17, he entered into the service and was shipped to Korea, then to Fort McPherson in Atlanta.
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.
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.
Sonny was born in a dugout about seven miles east of Meadow, Texas to struggling cotton farmers during the devastating Dust Bowl era. In the Curtis family, music was a way of life. Sonny learned to play before his fingers could reach across the neck of the guitar joining his older brothers, Pete and Dean, to pick at local radio stations and jamborees.
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.