Don Schlitz, one of Nashville’s pre-eminent songwriters, will come to New York University on Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m., as the featured guest at the next edition of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions @ NYU. Now in its sixth year, the Master Sessions are a collaboration between the Hall and the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions of the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Schlitz will discuss his four-decade-and-counting career with Phil Galdston, NYU Faculty Songwriter-in-Residence and Director of Songwriting.
“Don Schlitz is one of the most vital and influential music creators of our time,” said Ron Sadoff, Director of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. “The hallmark of his remarkable career as a songwriter and performer is a profound ability to use music and lyrics to give voice to our innermost emotions.”
“We are delighted that Don, a 2012 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and a member of our Board, will be the next guest at the upcoming Master Session,” said SHOF President and CEO Linda Moran. “It will be a rare opportunity for NYU students and SHOF members to get a first-hand insight into the heart, mind, and process of this revered songwriter.”
Schlitz’s first recorded song, “The Gambler,” won the GRAMMY® for Best Country Song in 1978 and the Country Music Association’s Best Song Award in 1979. His work has played a major role in the careers of Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, the Judds, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tanya Tucker, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Keith Whitley, Alison Krauss, and many other performers. His 50 Top Tens include 24 Number Ones.
Schlitz was the ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year for four consecutive years, from 1988 to 1991. He has won three CMA Song of the Year Awards, two ACM Song of the Year awards, and two GRAMMYs, among many nominations. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the ASCAP Creative Achievement Award in 2007. When Schlitz was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Kenny Rogers, who inducted him, said, “Don doesn’t just write songs. He writes careers.”
Schlitz’s hits include: “On the Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Deeper Than the Holler,” “Heroes and Friends” (all sung by Randy Travis); “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” “I Feel Lucky,” “I Take My Chances” (Mary Chapin Carpenter); “When You Say Nothing at All” (Keith Whitley and Alison Krauss); “Learning to Live Again” (Garth Brooks); “Houston Solution” (Ronnie Milsap); “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain,” “Turn Me Loose,” “I Know Where I’m Going” (the Judds); “One Promise Too Late” (Reba McEntire); “Forty Hour Week” (Alabama); “If You Can Do Anything Else” (George Strait); “Give Me Wings” (Michael Johnson); “Strong Enough to Bend,” “My Arms Stay Open All Night,” “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” (Tanya Tucker); “The Gambler,” “The Greatest” (Kenny Rogers); “Stand a Little Rain,” “When It’s Gone,” “I Love Only You” (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band); “Old School” (John Conlee); “I Watched It All (on my radio)” (Lionel Cartwright); “You Can’t Make Old Friends” (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton); and many, many more.
“Don is not only one of the great songwriting talents of the past 40 years, he’s a passionate and articulate thinker about the art and craft,” said Galdston. “His visit will give our community an up-close-and-personal view of both the distinct art form perfected by Nashville tunesmiths and of a life in song.”
Launched in 2011, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions at NYU are held at the Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 West Street.