Updated: Feb 22
Country music fans, and friends show up for down, and out legendary songwriter
Hugh Loring Prestwood might not be a name you recognize immediately. But I'm sure you'll recognize his songs, and legacy, especially, if you love 90s country..
Hugh was born, and raised in El Paso, Texas. He graduated from college, and embarked on a career as a Teacher, not that it was a lifelong dream, it just sort of fell in his lap you could say. However, life would soon change when a friend that lived in New York encouraged him to move up there, and pursue music. He did take his friend up on that offer, and received a big break when pop star Judy Collins discovered him.
It wasn't until several years had passed that Hugh met Tommy West. Tommy, a seasoned radio, and record man, who also produced Jim Croce, an old college chum. Tommy had co-founded MTM Records in Nashville with famed actress Mary Tyler Moore..Yes, that Mary Tyler Moore. In 1985, Hugh moved to Nashville, and became one of the principal songwriters at the label. Even though the label only lasted four years,
MTM's influence is still felt today. Trisha Yearwood, who would become a star in her own right was the label's receptionist. Scott Borchetta, also an employee became the CEO of Big Machine Records. And on the MTM roster were Holly Dunn, Becky Hobbs, and Paul Overstreet.
Hugh went on to write The Song Remembers When- Trisha Yearwood, Ghost In This House cut by Shenandoah, and my personal favorite Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart.
Three of Hugh's songs were nominated for Grammys, and he was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame. Additionally, he taught Advanced Songwriting at the prestigious New School in New York. Before the digital revolution, songwriters earned a comfortable living, if a song was just an album cut on a successful album. Hugh scored the title cut on Trisha's platinum selling album, The Song Remembers When. However, since 2005, Hugh states that the royalties stopped coming.
The unfortunate turn of events in the music business prompted a shift to lean more heavily on credit cards just to make ends meet. Hugh, and his wife eventually had to sell their home, and Hugh sold his songwriting rights just to stay afloat. Now things have come to another unfortunate turn as both Hugh, and Judy's main source of income is their social security benefits. Their landlord has lowered the boom, and is turning the rental they've lived at for over 10 years into a seasonal rental, and have priced the couple out of their home. They literally have weeks before they become homeless.
Hugh was hoping to raise $25k through GoFundMe to help with moving expenses. The couple have family in Texas where they can stay until they get their bearings. This is soul-crushing, and I am always flabbergasted to hear about such dire situations like these. But, once again, country music fans, and friends step up to the plate when the going gets tough. Since the date of this post, Hugh has raised $66,721!!! There were a total of 418 donations, and some as modest as $5.00, and others as high as $5000!
If the country music community is anything at all it is caring. We have heart, which is not something you can easily find in other spaces. Every little bit helps, and it is amazing how we can ALL come together on situations that really matter. We're not perfect, and there's much to be done, but at the very least, we have not lost our sense of community, soul. That's something, that's a big something..
Update: They are now up to $67,326.!!
And in our shared spirit of giving, there is another member of our community that is in need of our help. Eddie Long might not be a name you recognize immediatley, but he has helped shape some of the more traditional country leaning sounds we've heard from Nashville. If you've listened to Old News from the Steel Woods or Kenny Chesney's I'll Stand, you've heard Eddie's handy work. Not to mention the countless Hank Williams Jr albums he's played on. Eddie lost his son in a tragic accident, and needs our support to cover funeral expenses. Y'all as we all know, musicians earn a living playing. It's been slim pickens' with the current state of affairs. Here is his GoFundMe page please contribute, if you can. As witnessed with Hugh's donations, it really does not matter how much as every little bit counts.