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As the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International’s slogan says, “It all begins with a song.” The NSAI’s founders established it with a sole purpose in mind: To perpetuate the health and well-being of Nashville’s songwriting community, no matter the genre. In country music, though, we’re fortunate to celebrate some of the greatest writers in the music industry, including Thomas Rhett.


The really inspiring thing about Thomas Rhett is that when he puts pen to paper, it isn’t just for his own benefit. Obviously, fans benefit from the songs he records, but other artists have as well. This talented young father of two has been part of the writing teams that penned hits for Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Lee Brice, in addition to his own growing list of chart toppers.

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But you could say he came by it honestly. Thomas Rhett’s dad, Rhett Akins, followed up his own successful recording career by becoming an even more successful writer. In fact, at one point in 2013, Thomas and dad Rhett occupied five of the top 10 spots on the country singles charts as either a writer, co-writer or singer of one of the songs.

Being a hit Nashville songwriter doesn’t make you part of a boy’s club, though. Ask Lori McKenna. One of the most versatile songwriters working in Nashville, she has helped pen smashes like “Girl Crush” that stirred up controversy, and others, like “Humble and Kind,” that were words to live by. Genuinely talented and authentic in her message, Lori also consistently produces musical magic, which is why stars like Faith Hill and Little Big Town return to her catalog every time they record.

Thomas Rhett and Lori are just two of the finest in the country music songwriting community. And while we’ve picked a list of five, it truly is a deep well of talent that we’re so proud to have in Music City.

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Erin Holt spotlights these gifted songwriters and more in this special Rare Country’s 5. If we didn’t name your favorite, be sure to tell us who and why in the comments below. And if you just aren’t sure, take the time to read your favorite album’s liner notes and you’ll find their names in there.

Check back in later this week when we share the top news stories of the week from in and around country music in Rare Country’s 5.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development in the past. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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