2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Finalists Announced

Twelve writers, out of a pool of 1,201 entries, have been selected as finalists by the 2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. The 12 songwriters will perform in the round at MerleFest, April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where the first place winners will win cash and a Friday night set at the Cabin Stage.

This year, the competition is being judged by Rodney Crowell, Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, and previous winner Johnny Williams of the Jeanette Williams Band. The first round of the CASC took place in Nashville, Tennessee, where the 12 winners were chosen to represent four categories: bluegrass, country, general, and gospel/inspirational.

CASC began as a way to honor the memory of Chris Austin, former sideman for Ricky Skaggs and son of Doc Watson. In 1991, Austin was a member of Reba McEntire’s band when a private plane carrying him and seven others crashed near San Diego, California.

Net proceeds from the contest will benefit the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship.

The list of finalists is below.

Bluegrass:
Frank D. Ray (Hillsboro, Missouri) – “False Hearted Love”
James Woolsey (Petersburg, Indiana) – “Lights of Home”
Vickie Austin (Fall Branch, Tennessee) – “Can’t Hold On To Much”
Gospel/Inspirational:
Andy Owens (Boone, North Carolina) – “The Truth of Love”
Beth Lee (Black Mountain, North Carolina) – “Sacred Song”
Bob Hight (Greensboro, North Carolina) – “Heaven Will Be Mine”
Country:
Amanda Fields, Tom Buller (Nashville, Tennessee) – “Whiskey Ain’t Got Nothing on You”
Cliff Westfall (Highland Park, New Jersey) – “More and More”
Marie Bradshaw (Centerville, Utah), Daniel Young, Kiki Jane Sieger (North Salt Lake, Utah) – “These Walls (May Never Come Down)”
General:
Bryan Smith (Dayton, Virginia) – “Nothing Left”
Zander Melidis (Clawson, Michigan) – “Born Again”
Cliff Ritchey (Markleville, Indiana) – “Honey Baby”