Tony Arata

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Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, Tony Arata, Songwriter, SMSWF, Gatlinburg, TNTony Arata was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up on nearby Tybee Island.

While studying for a journalism degree from Georgia Southern University, he began performing his original songs in local bands. In 1986, he and wife Jaymi moved to Nashville where his unique, soulful style began to get the attention of people like Allen Reynolds and Garth Brooks. Garth to date has recorded seven of Tony’s songs, and “The Dance” won song of the year at The Academy of Country Music and received both a Country Music Association and a Grammy nomination, as well as a most performed song in Radio and Records Magazine.

He has also had No. 1 records with “Here I Am” for Patty Loveless, “I’m Holding My Own” for Lee Roy Parnell, and “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” for Clay Walker. Other artists who have recorded his songs include Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Trisha Yearwood, Delbert McClinton, Don Williams, Reba McEntire, Suzy Bogguss, and Hal Ketchum.

Tony has also done three solo albums featuring new songs, covers, and guest appearances by many of Nashville’s finest musicians as well as folks who have recorded his songs, including Garth, Patty, and Lee Roy.

Garth Brooks himself has said the following about Arata:

“One of my favorite songwriters has to be Tony Arata. He’s a cat who doesn’t care about appearances. He doesn’t care about money. He cares about his children, his wife, and his music. That’s neat.”

Singles released include:

  • The Dance—No. 1 single on Garth Brooks; Grammy nomination (country song) in 1990; Song of the Year in 1990 from the Academy of Country Music (ACM); No. 1 for three weeks in Billboard and Radio & Records; most-performed song of 1990 in Radio & Records; nominated for CMA Song of the Year in 1991
  • “Here I Am”— No. 1 single on Patty Loveless from CMA Album of the Year When Fallen Angels Fly
  • “Dreaming With My Eyes” Open—No. 1 single on Clay Walker
  • “I’m Holding My Own”—No. 1 single on Lee Roy Parnell
  • “The Change” — Top-20 single on Garth Brooks
  • “Why Ain’t I Running” — Top-20 single on Garth Brooks from his CD Scarecrow
  • “That’s The Way I Remember It” —Top-30 AC single on Garth Brooks from Garth Brooks…in the life of Chris Gaines
  • “You Can’t Get There From Here”—Top-40 single on Lee Roy Parnell

Songs recorded include:

Garth Brooks

“The Dance”

“Same Old Story”

“Face To Face”

“Kickin’ And Screamin’”

“The Change”


“That’s The Way I Remember It”

“Why Ain’t I Running”

Patty Loveless

“Old Soul”

“Long Stretch of Lonesome”

“Nobody Here By That Name”

“Here I am”

“Hand Full of Dust”

“Everybody’s Equal”

“Someday I Will Lead the Parade”

Emmylou Harris

“I Hear A Call”

Bonnie Raitt

“So Close”

Leroy Parnell

“I’m Holding My Own”

“You Can’t Get There From Here”

“Tell the Truth”

“Right Where It Hurts”

“Daddies and Daughter”

“Something Out of Nothing”

“Old Soul”

“The Hunger”

“That’s All There Is”

“Breaking the Chain”


“The Dance”

Trish Yearwood

“Sing You Back To Me”


Delbert Clinton

“I Use To Worry”

Reba McEntire

“This Is My Prayer For You”

Randy Travis

“Satisfied Mind”

Clay Walker

“Dreaming With My Eyes Open”

Susie Bogguss

“Part of Me”

“I Wish Hearts Would Break”

“Love Every Time”

“Love Is Stronger”

Don Williams

“Handful of Dust”

“The Answer”

Del McCoury

“I’d Love To Do Some Living”

Hal Ketchum

“Satisfied Mind”

Tanya Tucker

“Same Old Story”

Dave Koz

“The Dance”

Dan Seals


Jim Glaser

“Man in the Mirror”

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