Meet Some Of Our Songwriters

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“Big Al” Anderson

Big Al’s commanding voice and jaw-dropping guitar virtuosity brought distinction to the acclaimed band “NRBQ” for over two decades.Since his 22-year stint with NRBQ, his songs have been recorded by a diverse mix of nearly 900 artists including The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Buffet, Harry Connick Jr., Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill,  Anthony Hamilton, Etta James, George Jones, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt, Rascal Flatts, Leann Rimes, George Strait, Train, Trisha Yearwood, Zac Brown, ZZTop and many more. He has been the recipient of  “BMI Writer of the Year” award and over 20 awards for most performed song. His catalog of songs have sold over 40 million to date.In February, 2016, Al was honored by the Country Music Hall of Fame series “Poets and Prophets” for his “significant contribution to country music history”.Musician Magazine named Big Al Anderson as one of the top 100 guitarists of the 20th century. Vince Gill says “He’s an original guitar player. Al plays with such reckless abandon and sense of humor, yet he’s the swingingest”. He’s much more versatile of a guitar player than people know, he can do that wacky thing, but he’s also a beautiful player”.Currently Al plays with “The World Famous Headliners” who include musicians/artists extraordinaire Pat McLaughlin, Shawn Camp, Michael Rhodes and Greg Morrow.

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Sarah Buxton

Sarah Buxton is a recording artist who has had songs recorded by Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, Big and Rich, Cassadee Pope, Gary Allan and many others.  She has also been a key songwriter for the hit ABC TV series, “Nashville”.

Ashley Campbell
Ashley Campbell

Ashley Campbell is an American singer/songwriter originally from Phoenix, AZ. Campbell played banjo for her father, Glen Campbell, during his farewell tour in 2011 and 2012. She also appeared in the video for Rascal Flatts’ 2012 single “Banjo”.

Ashley Campbell released her debut single “Remembering” via Dot Records in 2015. The song previously appeared on the soundtrack of the 2015 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, to which she also contributed the track “Home Again”. “Remembering” is about her father and his struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. The compilation went on to win a Grammy and was nominated for an Oscar. Campbell also released a music video for the song. The song debuted at No. 56 on the Country Airplay chart dated for the week ending December 5, 2015.
Ashley is currently finishing up her debut album planning for a 2017 release.

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Kyle Jacobs

Kyle Jacobs moved to Nashville from Minneapolis, MN in 2000 and achieved his first significant success as a writer in 2003 with Kimberly Locke’s Top 10 AC single “8th World Wonder.”  In 2007 Kyle wrote what became the fastest rising single in the history of country music, Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory”, which debuted at #1 in R&R on 09/04/2007.  Kyle also co-wrote the Top 10 singles “Still” by Tim McGraw and “Dust” by Eli Young Band. He has also had two songs featured in the ABC series, NASHVILLE.  Kyle has also produced three #1 singles for Lee Brice, “Hard To Love”, “I Drive Your Truck”, and “Drinking Class”.
A staff writer for Curb Music since 2003, Kyle’s songs have been recorded by George Strait, Tim McGraw, Lee Brice, Eli Young Band, Kellie Pickler, Thompson Square, Gary Allan, Scotty McCreery, Trace Adkins, Clay Walker, Kelly Clarkson, Randy Travis, Jason Michael Carroll, Josh Kelley, James Wesley, Craig Morgan, and Jo Dee Messina. Kyle collaborates with many of the industry’s top songwriters and artists including Joe Leathers, Phillip Lammonds, Vicky McGehee, Rachel Thibodeau, Billy Montana, Darius Rucker, David Nail, and Wynonna.

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Andi Zack-Johnson

From British Columbia, Canada, Singer/Songwriter Andi Zack-Johnson has written songs that have been recorded by artists such as Josh Thompson, Brothers Osborne, Danielle Peck, Etta Britt, Drew Gregory and others… Vince Gill recorded two of Andi’s songs with his daughter Jenny Gill for her debut album to be released in September of 2016. She also co-wrote Josh Thompson’s smash hit, “Beer On The Table” and long time Delbert McClinton band vocalist Etta Britt’s “Make It Fast”, which was featured on Good Morning America… Look for Andi’s song “Heart Shaped Locket” on Capital recording artist, Brothers Osborne’s grammy winning debut album, Pawn Shop. Andi has also released her own CD called “Love Party”. The unique new CD features 11 songs all written on the ukelele. The project was produced by 2 time Grammy winning producer Skidd Mills along with Aerosmith keyboardist, Buck Johnson. She has also written multiple songs for the hit television show “Hart of Dixie” and her song “Wild Flower” is featured in the film Reach Me starring Sylvester Stallone. Currently, Andi has 2 singles at radio. One with new Universal artist, Marty Heddin, called “Game Changer”,produced by Kieth Stegall (Alan Jackson/Zac Brown Band) and another called “Nowhere America” for newcomer Payton Davis written with Mercury Records recording artist, Canaan Smith. Andi and her husband Ken Johnson are also known as the popular new children’s music duo, Huck and Lilly. Their album “There’s A Tree Growing In My Room” was co-produced with multi Grammy and Dove award winner Skidd Mills and is available now at http://www.huckandlilly.com and iTunes. They are currently touring in support of this album. Andi and Ken are also cast members of the hit television show and Ryan Seacrest production, “I Love Kellie Pickler” on CMT.  They are filming season 3 now.

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Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson’s songs have been recorded by many artists including  Uncle Kracker, Tyler Farr, Billy Gibbons (ZZ TOP), Tim Montana and The Shrednecks, Harry Connick Jr., Butch Walker, Chris Janson, Craig Morgan, Joey and Rory, Clare Bowen and Buddy Miller, Josh Thompson, The Farm, Ty Stone, Josh Grider, Lisa Lambe of Celtic Women Group, Walt Wilkins, Wayne Newton, and Paul Sanders with Vince Gill among others…  Past hits include Josh Thompson’s “Beer On The Table” and Craig Morgan’s “Still A Little Chicken Left On That Bone” and  more recently,  “You Dream I’ll Drive”, ”Summer and 16″ and “White Van” all of which reached the #1 spot with popular Texas artist Josh Grider.  He has written multiple songs for television shows like ABC’s ”Nashville”, CMT’s “I Love Kellie Pickler” and CW’s hit show “Hart of Dixie”.
Ken has collaborated with members of Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, Matchbox 20, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and NRBQ.  In 2012, Ken released his own album, “Dang Good Day”, in association with Warner Chappell Music and Combustion Music. The album features tracks written with singer/songwriters like Randy Houser, Frankie Ballard, Josh Thompson, Brothers Osborne and Eric Paslay.  Currently, Ken has 2 singles at radio now. One with new Universal artist, Marty Heddin, called “Game Changer” (produced by Kieth Stegall – Alan Jackson/Zac Brown Band) and “My Car” with Liberty Stone recording artist Scotty James.  Ken along with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Tim Montana have created the theme song for a new major motion picture called American Dresser, starring Tom Beringer and Gena Gershon. Ken has been seen on Fox and Friends and Good Morning America and has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and more recently, The Harry Show where Ken performed a duet with Harry Connick Jr. of a song he cowrote that Harry recorded called “Every Time I Fall In Love”. Ken and wife Andi Zack-Johnson are also known as the popular new children’s music duo Huck and Lilly. Their album “There’s A Tree Growing In My Room” was co-produced with multi Grammy and Dove award winner Skidd Mills. Ken and Andi are also cast members of the hit television show and Ryan Seacrest production, “I Love Kellie Pickler” on CMT.  They are filming Season 3 now.

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Billy Montana

Billy Montana has achieved four #1 country records – Lee Brice’s “Hard To Love”(2012), Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory”(2007), Sara Evans’ “Suds In The Bucket” (2004) and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bring On The Rain” (2002). “Bring On The Rain” was nominated for awards by both the Recording Academy (Grammy) and the Country Music Association and reached Number 6 on the Adult Contemperary chart. It appeared on the Country and A/C Charts for a combined total of 66 weeks! “Suds In The Bucket” was the most played country song by a female artist of 2004 and “More Than A Memory” is the fastest rising single in the history of country music, debuting at #1 on both the Billboard and R & R charts.  Recently, Montana’s song “What If I Was Willing” has been featured on several of the 2013-14 episodes of the popular ABC television series “Nashville.”
Montana was first inspired to pick up a guitar as a teenager in rural upstate New York by his musician father, and soon after, formed a country/rock band with his brother.  After graduating with a degree in agriculture from Cornell University, Montana decided to try music full time and traded his dream  of becoming a farmer for a record deal on Warner Brothers. His 1996 Magnatone Records release “No Yesterday” received great critical acclaim from USA Today, Music Row magazine, and Billboard magazine.
Many prominent artists have recorded Montana’s songs including Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Lee Brice, David Nail, Pat Green, Jo Dee Messina, Sara Evans, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Eli Young Band, Kellie Pickler, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Sister Hazel, Steve Holy, Kenny Rogers and Lee Ann Womack.

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Thom Shephard and Coley McCabe

CMA of Texas Songwriter of the Year Thom Shepherd and hit songwriter Coley McCabe were both working for Nashville publishing companies in the same building when they met. Their first date was a Deryl Dodd show at the Blue Bar in Nashville on April Fool’s Day, 2011. By the end of that year the couple relocated to Austin, Texas, to begin a full-time touring career. They were married by Elvis in Las Vegas on October 23rd, 2015.Thom is originally from St. Louis, MO, is the writer of two number one country songs, “Riding with Private Malone” and “Redneck Yacht Club,” three Texas Music number ones, “Beer Season,” “My Texas,” and “The Night Is Young,”  has had over 100 songs recorded by other artists, two songs on Grammy nominated albums, and multiple top ten hits nationwide and in Texas. He appears in the just-released documentary “Parrot Heads” with Jimmy Buffett.Coley’s song “Grow Young With You” was featured in the Natalie Portman / Ashley Judd film, “Where The Heart Is,” and she co-wrote the top 5 Platinum-selling SheDaisy hit “Lucky 4 U.” She hails from West Virginia and has had songs recorded by artists ranging from Kristi Lee Cook to Loretta Lynn. She also starred in the film “Alabama Love Story.”Their duet project is called “I’m With U.”  Coley wrote the title track, a song about a couple that “cruise this country from town to town” and know that “God and a song are gonna get us there.”  She wrote the song a few years back, claiming “Little did I know I would be writing about my future life.”

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Wil Nance

Wil Nance hit the top of R&R and Billboard with his #1 BRAD PAISLEY smash “She’s Everything”, a song on Time Well Wasted, the Multi Platinum 2007 CMA Album of the Year.  Most recently Wil co-wrote “Clean Up On Aisle #5” with Mo Pitney.He also landed on Troubadour, GEORGE STRAIT’S Platinum selling, Grammy Winning, 2008 CMA Album Of The Year with a song called “If Heartaches Were Horses.”In 2009, GEORGE STRAIT cut another Wil Nance song; “Where Have I Been All My Life”, which is on the GEORGE STRAIT Cd Twang.In 1999, Wil received a BMI award for “Round About Way”, a #1 hit single for GEORGE STRAIT, a song on the Multi Platinum CMA Album Of The Year Carrying Your Love With Me. “Round About Way” is also on GEORGE STRAIT’S Latest Greatest Hits and GEORGE STRAIT’S 50 Number Ones … Over ten million sales and counting.Wil has received “Million Air” Awards from BMI for GEORGE STRAIT’S “Round About Way” and BRAD PAISLEY’S “She’s Everything”.In 2004, Wil received another BMI Award for his top ten JOE NICHOLS single “Cool To Be A Fool”.Other singles include; BLUE COUNTY “I Get To”, JOHN MICHAEL MONTGOMERY “You Are”, GENE WATSON “Next To Nothin”, CHAD BROCK “You Are”, & more. Plus additional cuts on artists BRAD PAISLEY, TRACY LAWRENCE, JOE NICHOLS, NEAL MCCOY, CRAIG MORGAN, DIAMOND RIO, SAMMY KERSHAW, JEFF & SHEREI EASTER, OAKRIDGE BOYS, and many many others. Wil recently landed cuts on Universal’s EASTON CORBIN (“Only A Girl”), Warner Record’s THE FARM (“Little Boat”), & two new cuts in Curb Record’s Artist MO PITNEY (“Clean Up On Aisle Five” & “Come Do A Little Life”). Mo recently sang their song “Clean Up On Aisle Five” at his Grand Ol’ Opry debut & the audience responded with a standing ovation!

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Brian White

Touring Artist , #1 Song Writer , Producer, Recording Artist, Award Winner. These are just a few of the words that describe Brian White. One of Nashville’s most sought after hit makers, White has been on every side of the microphone during his career. White’s songs have been recorded by Christian acts such as Mandisa, Kutless, Avalon, Point of Grace, Larnelle Harris, 7th Time Down, Karyn Williams, Jaci Velasquez and many more, earning him Fourteen #1 Songs and 2 Dove Awards.
His successes in the Country market have landed him songs recorded by hit makers Jason Aldean , Trace Adkins, Rascal Flatts, Gary Alan, Neal McCoy, The Swon Brothers, Kix Brooks, Charley Pride, Blackhawk, to name a few as well as the Five-week #1 Smash, “Watching You” for Rodney Atkins which was named SESAC Country Song of the Year and Billboard Magazines “Most Played Country Song of 2007” as well as just being nominated for SONG OF THE YEAR honors at the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Recently “Watching You” was name the “Most Played Country Song of The Decade” and landed at # 37 in the “Top 100 Country Songs Of All Time”.
Brian continues to be a writer whose songs cross the lines that so many tend to draw in todays music. A man of Faith and conviction , White currently lives in Nashville with his wife , Christian Recording artist Karyn Williams and writes and produces for SB21 Music Publishing.

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James Slater

James T. Slater  is a two time, grammy nominated, piano-playing, bilingual singer-songwriter residing in Nashville, Tennessee.   He was born in Durham, North Carolina, and raised in the tropics of the Panama Canal Zone in Central America.
James is signed to BMG Music Publishing, his songs have been recorded by Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler, Reba McEntire, Gloriana, Martina McBride, Enrique Iglesias, Chris Brown, Chris Young, Willie Nelson, Chris Isaak, Rhett Akins,  John Michael Montgomery, Alabama, Mark Wills, Cassadee Pope and a host of others.
His Grammy nominations include Jamey Johnson’s “The High Cost of Living”, and Martina’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes” which has become a modern day standard garnering James a BMI country award as well as a BMI pop award in 2006.
James lived in Zurich Switzerland for six years touring, recording and writing with BMG Belgian super group Vaya Con Dios and has traveled the world from Panama to Dublin, and Spain to Havana.
His solo c.d. release “Key West Address” is a love letter to the island that reminds him so much of his tropical upbringing, so much so that the mayor of Key West awarded James the “keys to the city” and proclaimed the song “Key West Address” the island’s official theme.

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Stephony Smith

Stephony is a current NSAI Board member and a former songwriter-representative on the CMA Board of Directors.  She is active on the legislative front and frequently performs for NSAI.  She began her professional songwriting career in Memphis writing commercial jingles for a major advertising agency. Her songwriting credits include Heidi Newfield’s “Johnny And June,” the Tim McGraw-Faith Hill duet “It’s Your Love,” Trisha Yearwood’s “Perfect Love,” Reba McEntire’s “How Was I To Know,” Chad Brock’s “Yes,” Tim McGraw’s “Back When,” Kenny Chesney’s “Big Star,” Ricochet’s “What Do I Know” and Lorrie Morgan’s “Go Away.” BMI’s 1998 Songwriter of the Year, Stephony has more than 100 cuts by artists such as Shania Twain, SHeDAISY, Barbara Streisand, the Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, and Diamond Rio.

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Wynn Varble

Wynn Varble is an American country music musician and songwriter. Varble co-wrote the hit songs Have You Forgotten?, Waitin’ on a Woman, Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind and A Little More Country Than That.

In 2003, Varble co-wrote Have You Forgotten? with Darryl Worley, who released it as the first single from his album of the same name. It was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs for seven weeks, and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Varble’s song Waitin’ on a Woman, co-written with Don Sampson, was recorded three times by American country music artist Brad Paisley According to Country Weekly magazine, Varble received a call telling him that a former co-worker was in the hospital. Varble wrote the song after calling his co-worker at the hospital, wondering where his wife was. He told “the story and the idea he had for the song” to co-writer Don Sampson.  After a few days, Varble and Sampson played “Waitin’ on a Woman” for Paisley, and he decided to record it. Waitin’ on a Woman debuted at number 51 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart dated for the week of June 28, 2008 and reached number 1 the week of September 20, 2008.

Varble wrote A Little More Country Than That with Rory Lee Feek and Don Poythress while the three were at a writing retreat held at Mickey Newbury’s cabin near Nashville Tennessee. The song was recorded by Easton Corbin and released in August 2009 as Corbin’s debut single. The song peaked at Number One on the U.S. country singles charts dated for the week ending April 3, 2010, its thirty-second week on that chart.

In 2010 and 2011, Wynn was a contestant on CMT’s Next Superstar.

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Phillip White

Phillip White is a Alabama native that has spent the last 20 plus years writing songs for some of the biggest artists in the business. George Strait, Luke Bryan, Chris Ledoux, Vince Gill, Bonnie Tyler, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Wynonna, Reba, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Jake Owen, Josh Turner and Neal McCoy are some of the artists that have recorded Phillip’s work. Among these include the 2003 ACM song of the year “I’m Movin’ On”, The Theme song for Reba’s self titled hit tv show “I’m A Survivor” and Blake Shelton’s “Nobody But Me”. Over the past couple decades he’s been published by some of music row’s most respected publishers including stops at Murrah Music, Disney, Universal, and Seagayle. He most recently signed a new deal with Frank Rodgers new company Fluid Music Revolution and Spirit Music Publishing. Phillip has produced and worked in the studio with some of Nashville’s best acts including Blake Shelton, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, Kevin Denney, Joanna Smith, and most recently just finished an album on Lauren Ashley and The Trainwreckers.

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Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson is one of the hottest up and coming writers in Nashville.  Since signing his publishing deal with Magic Mustang Music, he has scored over 20 cuts and singles such as “Straight Outta Cold Beer” (Blake Shelton), “Later On” (Swon Brothers), “Tomorrow Tonight” (Craig Campbell), and “Better In Boots” (Tyler Farr). Justin had his first number one with Michael Ray, “Kiss You In The Morning”. His second number one came just a few months later with Randy Houser, “We Went”. Justin also penned Granger Smith’s current single, “Happens Like That”. Other cuts by artists such as Joe Nichols, Jackie Lee, Parmalee, John King, and more, are proof that Justin is going to be a force in songwriting for years to come.

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