July/August Lyric Contest Winners

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Congratulations to all our July/August 2022 Lyric Contest winners. Read the winning lyrics for first through fourth place, below.

CLICK HERE to enter the September/October contest.


1st Place
“These Two Hands” by Jim Chalker

My granddad was a woodcarver
Never had a lot to say
But what he spoke came through his hands
And it took your breath away
He owned an old worn set of tools
Used to chisel as he stood
And he could carve a symphony
From a simple piece of wood

Chorus
And he lived each day like it mattered
Did all that one man can
He was humble, yet he could hold his head
Just as high as any man
And he taught me life’s a challenge
And how to make my stand
‘Cause everything he ever owned
He earned with his two hands

My father was a mason
Made his name in brick and stone
You could see his work all over town
In all the finest homes
As straight as any laser beam
The courses that he laid
And everybody marveled
At the beauty that he made

Chorus
And he lived each day like it mattered
Did all that one man can
He was humble, yet he could hold his head
Just as high as any man
And he taught me life’s a challenge
And how to make my stand
‘Cause everything he ever owned
He earned with his two hands

And me I play this old guitar
I have since just a boy
Sometimes the stories make me cry
Other times I sing for joy
I can fill the air with songs of praise
I can fill your heart with chills
The work ain’t always steady
But it always pays the bills

Chorus
And I live each day like it matters
And I do the best I can
Cause I learned from guys who understood
What it means to be a man
And I know that life’s a challenge
Now I’m here to make my stand
And everything I’ve ever owned
I earned with these two hands

Bridge
You know I never wore that cap and gown
Didn’t choose to go that road
But I’m doing fine with these hands of mine
Always carried my own load

Chorus
So I’ll live each day like it matters
And keep doing all I can
And I’ll raise my son to know what’s right
And how to make his stand
‘Cause it’s true that life’s a challenge
But I rise to its demands
So I thank God for what He did
When He gave me these two hands

Judges QUOTES:

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

Verse 1
Should’ve lost the invitation
Don’t know what I had to see
Such a sad special occasion
You at the altar without me
It’s a pretty little white church
The kind I would’ve liked
I can hear the music playing
But I can’t bear to go inside

Chorus
Cause on this side of the stained glass
There’s a chance that I might get you back
No one’s made promises that have to last
On this side of the stained glass

Verse 2
Can’t hear what she’s saying
But I can read it on your lips
Smilin’ like you’re staying
So I look away before the kiss

Chorus
Cause on this side of the stained glass
There’s a chance that I might get you back
No one’s made promises that have to last
On this side of the stained glass

Bridge
White-dress kaleidoscope
Twists and twirls till I lose hope

Chorus
Cause on her side of the stained glass
No chance I’ll ever get you back
You made promises that have to last
On her side of the stained glass
Wish you’d come stand with me
Out here in the past
On this side of the stained glass

Judges QUOTES:

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

She walks on water
But she dances on wine
With a devilish twinkle
In her angelic eyes
The prophets are laughing
The elders are crying
She walks on water
But she dances on wine

My sweet señorita
With a glass in her hand
The spirits are flowing
So strike up the band
She’s just about perfect
Damn near divine
She walks on water
But she dances on wine

An hour after midnight
The cabernet’s gone
So break out another
The night is still young
My miracle baby
She’s one of a kind
She walks on water
But she dances on wine.

Judges QUOTES: 

3rd Place: She Walks On Water

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.”


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

Verse 1
Bartender says he’s always here on Mondays
but lately, he’s been here every day
in that corner where he drinks
judging from his eyes he thinks
guess he’s trying to drink the memories away

Verse 2
the things he’s seen and done I can’t imagine
he don’t talk about it/ and I don’t ask
I just know he served three tours
where exactly I ain’t sure
I just heard him say/ he thought he’d never make it back

Chorus
and he hates when people call him a hero
he says the heroes didn’t make it home
they’re the ones who fought and died 
they made the sacrifice
the heroes are the names carved in stone

Verse 3
one day I thanked him for his service
and you should have seen the look in his eyes
he said there’s nothing to thank me for
there’s no gratitude in war
I just did what I had to do / to survive

Chorus
and he hates when people call him a hero
he says the heroes didn’t make it home
they’re the ones who fought and died
they made the sacrifice
the heroes are the names carved in stone

Verse 4
but I say let’s raise our glasses for a toast
to all the heroes who deserve respect the most
here’s to the ones who fought and died
all who served and sacrificed
to us Your heroes /and we thank God you made it home
thank God for heroes/ and the ones who made it home

Judges QUOTES: 

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!”

Honorable Mentions

Laura Frawley
“Where Only Love Remains”

Megan Bee
“Never Known”

Anthony Giampetro
“Only A House”

Mitch Townley
“If Love Was A House”

Doc Strassberg
“A Little Bit More”

Megan Kelley
“Queen of Forever and the King of Goodbye”
Cowriter(s): Mike Parker

Richard La Bella
“A Thousand Skies”

Dale Giffen
“All There Was”

Liz Pappademas
“Find My Way To You”

Lauren Smith
“That’s What Neighbors Do”

Photo courtesy of Jim Chalker

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