January/February 2021 Lyric Contest Winners

Congratulations to all our January/February 2021 Lyric Contest winners! CLICK HERE to enter the March/April 2021 contest, deadline January 15 @ 11:59 PM CST.

1st place

“Some Boys Grow Up To Be Soldiers” (Read Q&A with Brian)
By Brian Estes
Ellsworth, ME
 
He waves his flag like a martyr
He bears his sins like a cross
He wears his skin just like armor
He'll never admit what it cost
 
He walks with a chip on his shoulder
He carries his burdens alone
Some boys grow up to be soldiers
And some of them never come home
 
There once was a time when he loved her
The promise was sealed with a kiss
And sometimes he’s soft like the water
But sometimes he’s hard like a fist
 
He can't feel a thing when he holds her
As if he was carved from a stone
Some boys grow up to be soldiers
And some of them never come home
 
His heart wasn't always so broken
His head wasn't always so hard
Most of his words go unspoken
Most of his memories are scars
 
Each day he’s a little bit older
But the ghosts just won’t leave him alone
Some boys grow up to be soldiers
And some of them never come home
 
It seems like she's staring right through him
From a picture that sits on a shelf
He's almost glad that she left him
If only he could leave himself
 
Each day he's a little bit colder
'Til one day he's cold to the bone
Some boys grow up to be soldiers
And some of them never come home

Are your Lyrics as good as Brian’s?


2nd place
 
“The Lower 9th Ward”
By Joe Black
Denver, CO
 
Just an old kid’s sneaker
In the middle of the road
Filled with soot and silt and remnants
Of a Delta motherlode
Like it was looking for its partner
Like it was looking for its soul
Like it was somehow going to run again
Kick a ball or score a goal
And if I live to be a hundred
My eyes and ears they will record
The horror and the helplessness
Of the lower 9th ward
 
The jack hammers they were pounding
A hideous metronome
Bearing witness to the rhythm of this urban catacomb
Like a funeral procession
A second line of funk
Sideways stepping, almost dancing
There were jewels among the junk
And the relics and the riches
And the concrete never pored
And the total devastation
Of the lower 9th ward
 
BRIDGE:
And the garbage piles
And the hope exiled
Like the quick denials
After claims were filed
 
And the crows up in the treetops
Silhouetted in the sky
With their salvage operation
Saw it coming from on high
There were miles of desolation
There was writing on the walls
There were bodies that were waiting
There were never answered calls
As we gazed out on the rubble
Our silent witness underscored
The shame and the salvation
Of the lower 9th ward
 
 
3rd place
 
“No Justice No Peace (This Pain)”
By Mose Stovall and Jason McKay
Birmingham, AL
 
 
No Justice No Peace
No Justice No Peace
No Justice No Peace
Now let me sing my song
 
Let me Tell you about pain
You said a change is gonna come
But we've been waiting for forever
and we still ain't seen one
They don't tell us real facts y'all
They keep their knees on our backs y’all
How much more do they think we can take
Over four hundred years and we still can't catch a break
 
Chorus
I got this burning down in my soul
And this pain won’t let me go
I've been feeling it for ah while
Since the day I became my mother's child
 
Repeat Chorus
 
Jim Crow and slavery
That ain't the way it's supposed to be
No vote for you and no vote for me
Segregation for the world to see
They used bombs dogs and water hoses
To try to keep us down
So we marched and we're still marching on
Just to keep our ground
 
Repeat Chorus
 
See im a whole man, I got a whole plan
And I'm gonna carry this thing out, til I'm a old man
Not gonna back down no more
Not gonna lay down no more
I'm gonna stand tall give it my all
And I’m gonna let my soul glow
I'm feeling like Sam Cooke
I think a change gonna come
But it want come until me and you stand together as one
I think I’m M L K, Fred Shuttlesworth
Who is you to tell me what my life is worth
Oh yeah I'm so official
Walking like I'm Presidential
Ain't got to tell you my life matters
my life is so essential
So put your hands up
Divided we gone fall
We just wanna see liberty and Justice
And Justice for all
 
Repeat Chorus
 
 
4th place
 
“Learning”
By Daniel Morrow
Mechanicsburg, PA
 
Verse 1:
 
I used to speak in riddles then, but not ‘cause I was clever
I was scared of my own darkness, Man I’m anxious now as ever
But I’m learning how to look it in the eye, content right now to say I tried to try
 
Growing up in Oklahoma, we were Baptist as a hymn
And we believed all that they taught us about judgement, death and sin
But I’m learning now, the truth gets mixed with lies
cuz true faith begins and ends with asking why
 
Chorus:
I like to think of you up there with those ‘90s highlights in your hair
And that Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt still in style
I let of the whys and whens, the should’ve knowns and the could of beens
‘cause you cannot love the world and hate it’s turnin’
It’s what I’m learnin
 
Verse 2:
 
That ol fiery red Camaro, going 80 down the road
And that look your daddy gave me, when we had to have it towed
We couldn’t even look him in the eye, we just stared up at the Osage County sky
 
After I went off to college, we lost track like people will
I Heard you moved in with your mama, somewhere south of Jacksonville
When your sister called and told me how you died
I’d be lying if I said I was surprised
 
Chorus:
I still like to think of you up there
with those ‘90s highlights in your hair
And that Teenage Fanclub t-shirt still in style
I let go of the whys and whens
the should’ve knowns and the could have beens
Cause it’s hard to build a bridge you’re busy burning
It’s what I’m learning
 
Bridge:
Sometimes it’s best to fall into a mystery
when wondering why ain’t come to bear
I admit sometimes it feels like ancient history
and other times I can almost feel you here
 
Chorus:
I like to think of you up there with those ‘90s highlights in your hair
And that Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt still in style
I’ve let go of the whys and whens
the should’ve knowns and the could have beens
I believe that peace will soon replace the yearning
It’s what I’m learning…it’s what I’m learning, I’m still learning
 
 
 
Honorable Mention
 
“No Man’s Land”
By Jonathan Schaier
Virginia Beach, VA
 
“It’s Someone Else’s Problem (‘Til It’s Not)”
By Thomas Lehe
Palmer, AK
 
“Anna Milena”
By Patricia Malek
Edinburgh, SCT
 
“Advanced Beginner”
By Noam Weinstein
Cambridge, MA
 
“The Masquerade”
By Jon Haukaas
St. Louis Park, MN 
 
“Who Knew Love (Could Sound Like This)”
By Zach Henard, Hal ODell, Greg Wilson
Nashville, TN
 
“Play Me A Love Song”
By Paul Walker
Eccleshall, ENG
 
“You’re Pretty”
By Marc Williams
Waterloo, ON
 
“Hillside Is My Lover”
By Luke Collins
Dartmouth, NS
 
“Last Night’s Makeup”
By Kennady Tracy
Nashville, TN

CLICK HERE to enter the current American Songwriter Lyric Contest. 


Since 1984, the American Songwriter Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters gain exposure and have fun.


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January/February Lyric Contest Winner Brian Estes Details “Some Boys Grow Up To Be Soldiers”

100+ More Songs We Absolutely Love From the Song Contest, Vol. 1