From his West Texas beginnings as the lead guitarist in Buddy Holly’s pre-Crickets band, “The Three Tunes,” to a prolific songwriting career, Sonny Curtis is a rare talent who transcended musical genres long before the term “crossover” was coined. He has penned over 500 songs, recorded by legendary artists across the music spectrum, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hank Williams, Jr., Bing Crosby, The Everly Brothers, The Grateful Dead and many more! 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 1,000,000 air plays. Curtis also wrote and sang the theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, "Love Is All Around." His wide-ranging contributions to songwriting earned him a place in the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Hall of Fame in 1991.
Tommy Lee James
Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Tommy Lee James is an American country music songwriter and record producer. James is the writer of a number of hit songs including Reba McEntire’s “And Still,” Brooks & Dunn’s “A Man This Lonely,” Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn’s duet “If You See Him/If You See Her,” Martina McBride’s “Wrong Again”, Cyndi Thomson’s “What I Really Meant to Say,” and Tim McGraw’s “She’s My Kind of Rain.” All these songs went to number one on the charts. James had an additional chart topping success with “I Wish” recorded by Jo Dee Messina and “Let’s Be Us Again” recorded by Lonestar, what was a top 4 hit. He also co-wrote the critically acclaimed single by Gary Allan entitled “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.” James has had many other cuts with artists such as Cliff Richard, 98 Degrees, Pam Tillis, Blue County, Emerson Drive, Jedd Hughes, Little Big Town, Delta Goodrem, and Pussycat Dolls.
For Don Poythress, his story began in Meridian, Mississippi, where both faith and music were signposts for the journey ahead. Don learned the art of songwriting by listening to country legends such as Johnny Cash and Glenn Campbell, and Christian artists like Dallas Holm and Dottie Rambo. Even as a child, Don saw his story taking shape. The most profound moment in Don’s young musical education took place in his childhood piano class. Today, Don is one of Nashville’s premier songwriters. His songs have been recorded by both acclaimed country stars including Tim McGraw, Clint Black, and Travis Tritt, and Christian artists such as Jaci Velasquez, The Martins, and Brian Littrell. Accordingly, Don’s accolades cross genre lines. In 2006, The Martins’ recording of Don’s song “The Promise” received a Dove Award for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year. Two years later, he received an ASCAP award for Kellie Pickler’s chart-topping hit, “Things That Never Cross A Man’s Mind.”
For hit music creator Phillip White, becoming a songwriter was practically a compulsion. “I couldn’t help it,” Phillip says. “I just always wanted to write songs”. Phillip is notable for co-writing such songs as “I’m a Survivor,” the omni-present theme song of the TV sit com Reba, and “I’m Movin’ On,” the Rascal Flatts smash that was named Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002. Phillip’s songs have also been recorded by such stars as George Strait, Kenny Rogers, Jo Dee Messina and Blake Shelton. Most recently, Phillip landed two songs on Scotty McCreery’s platinum album “Clear As Day” including the hit single “The Trouble With Girls”. Phillip also had two of his songs featured on the soundtrack for the film Act of Valor. These songs were recorded by Jake Owen and Wynonna respectively. In addition, Darius Rucker recently recorded the song “Lost In You” that he penned with Phillip. Phillip says he owes all of his accomplishments to the support and encouragement he’s received throughout his life.