Based on the quality of several “Tribute” recordings, I think I can safely say that a writer does not need to pass away in order to be honored by their peers in the form of recording or performing their tunes.
Often, Tribute records are done with a purpose. One of the finest examples was a two-CD set of various artists performing Alejandro Escovedo songs in order to raise money to help him with medical bills while he recovered from Hepatitis.
Peter Case is a great songwriter. It is that simple. Hungry for Music is a charitable organization devoted to collection of musical instruments and distributing them to young people whose access to instruments is limited.
Another organization in the Washington DC metro area doing extensive work in the “Live” tribute arena is Bandhousegigs whose performances at Strathmore Hall in Maryland and The Barns at Wolf Trap in Virginia.
Productions include Tributes to The Band, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, Allen Toussaint, Warren Zevon, The Byrds, Woodstock, and a Summer 2011 release of a CD of the 2010 show; The British Invasion. Several recordings are available.
One very special songwriter who is not a household name or a well known performer is the subject of one of the finest Tribute records featuring some of the most familiar songs imaginable.
Doc Pomus is an icon in songwriting and sending hits to the top. Check out:
This recording is out of print but available in used marketplace.