Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Hugh Prestwood

Ep. 68 - Hugh Prestwood

The Song Remembers When: Country's Outsider Craftsman

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Hugh calls up Scott and Paul to explain how a Texas troubadour ended up in New York City; the way he got discovered by Judy Collins; how a record label managed to lose track of who wrote the song that became his first #1 hit; why he doesn't co-write; the reason he keeps returning to the theme of forgiveness; how he's found his place by focusing on writing slowly; the day he stood up Neil Diamond; and what happened when he tried to go through airport security with a loaded gun.

Hugh Prestwood has written twenty charting singles on the Billboard rankings, including eight Top 10 hits. He began his professional career as a folk singer/songwriter in Greenwich Village in the 1970s before finding commercial success as a writer when Judy Collins began recording his songs toward the end of the decade.

In the 1980s he appeared on the country charts with the #1 singles “The Sound of Goodbye” by Crystal Gayle and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder” by Michael Johnson. By the following decade Prestwood was regularly topping the charts with titles such as Randy Travis’ “Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart,” which earned him the BMI Country Song of the Year Award. Similarly, Trisha Yearwood’s recording of “The Song Remembers When” earned him NSAI’s Song of the Year honors and an Emmy award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics.

Other artists who’ve recorded his songs include Alison Krauss, Anne Murray, Conway Twitty, Shelby Lynne, John Conlee, Barbara Mandrell, Gene Watson, The Judds, Lee Greenwood, Tanya Tucker, Jimmy Buffet, Sammy Kershaw, Don Williams, Kristin Chenoweth, Vern Gosdin, Kathy Mattea, and Collin Raye, who took the song “On the Verge” to the top of the charts in 1997.

Hugh recently released his first full-length album as an artist, I Used to Be the Real Me, on Judy Collins’ Wildflower Records. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. 


Songcraft's Hugh Prestwood Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a handful of Hugh's best known songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.