Hit Songwriter Bios—Rivers Rutherford
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Rivers Rutherford began his musical education at the age of seven, when he took up the piano and guitar. His father, who also played the piano and toured with the Apollo Boy's Choir, was his biggest influence. They spent many evenings in the family kitchen playing tunes from what Rivers remembers as the "big orange Elvis songbook."
Rutherford's professional career began at the age of 15, when he was hired to play piano on the Memphis Queen riverboat. He later graduated to playing clubs on Beale Street throughout his high school years. A piano scholarship enabled Rutherford to attend Ole' Miss, where he majored in English and music.
Rutherford's father spotted a newspaper ad for a songwriting workshop which lead to Rivers meeting with Chips Moman, producer of Elvis' "Suspicious Minds," Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind" and author/producer of "Luckenbach Texas." Moman was so impressed with a partially finished song that Rutherford played at the workshop that he signed Rutherford to a publishing and production contract. This venture led to Rutherford's first recording "American Remains," by The Highwaymen. In addition, Rutherford played guitar and sang background vocals on the album.
In 1993, spurred by the positive direction his musical career was moving, Rutherford moved to Nashville. Then he began working with a local commercial production company. During this period, he wrote and performed on several award-winning compositions for TV and film, including a rendition of "Wordless Prayer" for Ken Burns' Florentine Films.
In 1996, Rutherford signed an exclusive songwriters agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group. He enjoyed immediate success penning Chely Wright's breakthrough single "Shut Up and Drive." Recently, Rutherford reached another milestone with three songs on the Billboard's Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart: Clay Davidson's debut #3 single "Unconditional" Gary Allan's Top Ten Hit "Smoke Rings In The Dark," and Keith Harling's title track "Bring It On." He recently scored his first Number One song with Brooks and Dunn's "Ain’t Nothing 'Bout You." His song, "Tonight I Wanna Be Your Man," was the first single from Andy Griggs' sophomore album.
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