American Songwriter Judges Offer Insights Into Judging the July/August Lyric Contest Winners

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

In response to feedback from the American Songwriter Community, the esteemed contest judges were asked to share some insights into their winner selections. Read below for insights into how the panel of judges picked the winners for the July/August Lyric Contest.


1st Place: “These Two Hands” by Jim Chalker

Read lyrics HERE.


Martin Sexton: “Loved the simple imagery and reverence to the old school ways. The world needs more songs that celebrate creating with our hands and not so much emphasis on a college degree. I’m guessing Mike Rowe would love this one.”


Rhett Atkins: “Good descriptive song.”


for King & Country: “Well written, while it is more poetry than it is song, the articulation of how they communicate someone expressing themselves through their hands.”


Judy Stakee: “I compliment you on the way you told a generational story simply and uniquely. The lyric kept unfolding; with every sentence, I learned something new.”


Scotty McCreery: “Love this song. Teaches about the importance of hard work, and letting your hard work be your legacy. Walking the walk instead of talking the talk. Love how it turns from manual labor to playing guitar. Lots of things you can do with 2 hands that speak volumes. Great flow and rhyming as well.”


William Fitzsimmons: “Lovely generational tale honoring one’s recent ancestors. Meter and pace are pleasant and well thought out. Wonderful word imagery.”


Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter today before the deadline:


2nd Place: “Stained Glass” by Hailey Lance

Read lyrics HERE.


Rhett Atkins: “Feel the pain of the singer.”

for King & Country: “[Has the] capacity to create a story through visuals and use the metaphor.”

Bonnie Baker: “Love the idea of being on two sides of the same glass and how that different perspective brings two different stories.“

Nina June: “Beautiful imagery throughout the lyrics. I like the idea of the two sides of the stained glass. [The] first sentences of the first verse really pulled me in.”

Scotty McCreery: “Love this take on a one-person heartbreak song. Can feel the anguish. Love the imagery. Feel like I’m looking right at a good old little white church with stained glass windows. Cool idea.”

3rd Place: “She Walks on Water” by Jim Hartline

Read lyrics HERE.


for King & Country: “Captivating and some of the best songs take familiar ideas and spin it in a fresh thought.”

Bonnie Baker: “She walks on water and dances on wine… like the irony of this storyline. Someone who ‘walks on water’ is someone we think is perfect and then putting that with the story of someone being more free to dance and be joyful while drinking wine. Like the feel of this.”

Lance Carpenter: “Great first line, really pulled me in. Very simple short lyric but it told the story and sometimes that’s all you need.”

Read lyrics HERE.


Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter today before the deadline:


4th Place: “Carved In Stone” by Carolyn Wardwell

Read lyrics HERE.


Rhett Atkins: “Paints a really good picture.”

for King & Country: “Emotionally compelling—whenever you’re writing someone else’s stories really appreciate the wider context to raise up a people group or a person. Not incredibly well written but can feel the person they’re writing about which draws you in.”

Judy Stakee: “What a great story . I love the chorus for its unique perspective on the Hero subject.I love being surprised!”

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