Successful Bluegrass Songwriter and Former Sunny Mountain Boy, Paul Craft, Is Gone!

Paul Craft at the 2014 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions.(Photo: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame)USA TODAY is reporting the death of one of Country Music's most successful songwriters. According to the publication, Paul Craft died Saturday morning at age 76.

His song "Keep Me From Blowing Away" was originally recorded by the The Seldom Scene on their 1973 album Act II and was then recorded by Linda Ronstadt on her 1974 album "Heart Like a Wheel", and has since been recorded by Moe Bandy, T. Graham Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis and Willie Nelson. His song "Midnight Flyer" was recorded by the Eagles. His song "Dropkick Me, Jesus" was a number 17 country hit for Bobby Bare in 1976.

Craft is also among the most-successful bluegrass songwriters. Alison Krauss sang his "Teardrops Will Kiss The Morning Dew," The Osborne Brothers sang his "Fastest Grass Alive," Charlie Sizemore sang "Nothing Happening Every Minute" and The Seldom Scene — the progressive-minded group that just entered the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame — recorded standout versions of his "Raised By The Railroad Line," "Through the Bottom of the Glass" and "Keep Me From Blowing Away."

Between 1977 and 1978, Craft charted three singles as a recording artist on RCA Records although none of them made it into the top 50.

Craft was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame just this year on October 5th.  His induction came just 13 days before his death.

During the induction ceremony, his longtime friend Layng Martine Jr., a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member himself, noted Craft was not only a member of Mensa, the "genius" circle, but also a jokester who had composed single-handedly such weird hits as the outrageously metaphoric "Drop Kick Me, Jesus" (a top-20 hit for Bobby Bare in 1976) and "It's Me Again, Margaret," Ray Stevens' hit about an unrepentant obscene phone caller. Bare told the crowd former President Bill Clinton once cited "Drop Kick Me, Jesus" as his favorite song.

A gifted guitarist and banjo player, Craft's instrumentals were recorded by the likes of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, and he also served a tenure as the banjo player in Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys.

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