May/June 2022 Lyric Contest Winners

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

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

CLICK HERE to enter the July/August contest.


1st Place
“Ain’t No Wrong Way” by Rachel Gore with Thomm Jutz

Verse 1
I’d always searched for definition
Quick to find the right decision
Spent my life on one clear mission
And left no room for doubt.

I always tried to play it nice
But never took my own advice
Lately, I’ve been thinking twice
Here’s what I figured out:

Chorus
There ain’t no wrong way to be
That’s what I had to learn
There’s just the right way for me
At each and every turn.
And that’s the silver lining at the end of the day-
There ain’t no wrong way.

Verse 2
Living up to expectations
Every task, an obligation
Hiding all of my frustrations
Won’t show the path ahead
And so I had to reconfigure
Thinking smaller, not always bigger
It ain’t about what I deliver
But what I love instead.

Chorus
There ain’t no wrong way to be
That’s what I had to learn
There’s just the right way for me
At each and every turn.
And that’s the silver lining at the end of the day-
There ain’t no wrong way.

Verse 3
So what to do with this great lesson?
It’s up to me and you I’m guessing
And that may be the greatest blessing
For anyone to find.

Chorus
There ain’t no wrong way to be
That’s what I had to learn
There’s just the right way for me
At each and every turn.
And that’s the silver lining at the end of the day-
There ain’t no wrong way.


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


2nd Place
“Blue Roses” by Mamie Foreman

If sorrow could kill
I’d be in the ground
If lonely could sing
It’d be the only sound

If wishes had wings
I’d be there with you
But not all wishes
Get to come true

And If the tears that I cry
Keep falling down
There’s gonna be blue roses
All over this town

If trouble was easy
I would be free
You’d be here
Not a memory

If I could muster
The weakness in me
I’d be the happiest fool
Of the century

But if the tests that I cry
Keep falling down
There’s gonna be blue roses
All over this town

If pride were a light load
I could set at your heal
It’s you I’d be holding
This wouldn’t be real

And if the tears that I cry
Keep falling down
You’re gonna see blue roses
All over this town

Oh the tears that I cry
They keep falling down
And you can see blue roses
All over this town

Yeah you can see blue roses
All over this town

3rd Place
“The Watchman Of Spokane” by Clayton Ryan

Verse
I walked a path in the towering pines just south of Old Keystone
To a ghostly spot that time forgot for 90 years or so
There’s plenty of holes for an ankle to roll where they dug up an underground fortune
A lonely barn, a few old cars, and the house of the silver mine foreman

Verse
Now back in 76, a thousand shovels and picks were tearing at the earth below
James Shepard came to make his name all the way from southern Wisco
He worked Spokane with an axe in hand til he jumped on an unkept claim
He drove his stake but a man called Frank had already given his name

Chorus
In a lonely grave in a long-gone town
There’s a lonesome man buried six feet underground
A silver miner’s fate in someone else’s hands
Now he lays in silence, the Watchman of Spokane

Verse
It was common enough when a claim went untouched that another man could make his stay
But when Frank and his son heard what James had done they knew there was Hell to pay
Those rats had stolen that land before and they let the papers wither
They had their sights on Shepard’s head and set out after dinner.

Verse
On a stormy eve in the grass and the weeds, Jim was out searching for his cattle
He was roaming around and he let his guard down when he heard that Frank Cox rattle
“You son of a bitch, you’ve driven your last stake!” and he pulled the trigger of his gun
Jim was shot and onward he fought, towards home he made his run.

Verse
With no time to waste his wife made haste and a neighbor rode on towards town
It was 17 miles and the lightning was wild, the rain kept on coming down
And Jim held on til the break of dawn when he uttered his final breath
“It was Frank and his son with a loaded shotgun, that sent me to my death”

Chorus
In a lonely grave in a long-gone town
There’s a lonesome man buried six feet underground
A silver miner’s fate in someone else’s hands
Now he lays in silence, the Watchman of Spokane

Verse
Now the funeral was short and the anger in scores for the death of man they all treasured
And no man’s neck ever hung from the deck for the murder of James F. Shepard
When the preacher asked “who?” the townsfolk knew and they pointed up past the rocks
The killing was done by the father and son of the house of old Frank Cox

Chorus
In a lonely grave in a long-gone town
There’s a lonesome man buried six feet underground
A silver miner’s fate in someone else’s hands
Now he lays in silence, the Watchman of Spokane


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


4th Place
“Little” by Pat Watters

(V1)I’m worn out from a week of work,
and my back is sore.
But I’m down her pushin’ choo choo trains
on the livin’ room floor.
Cuz they’re only little, for a little while.

(V2) I could list about a hundred things
I should be gettin’ done.
But I’m pitchin’ to my 8-year-old
and he’s hittin’ home runs.
Cuz they’re only little, for a little while.

(C) And I can’t wait to see the men they’ll be.
But they’re growin’ up like sycamore trees.
And I want their favorite memory of me
To be a man who wasn’t scared to be
Little, for a little while.

(V3) I try to choose my words these days
try to make ’em count.
I don’t always get ’em right when there’s
little ears around.
But they’re only little, for a little while.

(v4) So I hold their mama close to me.
and kiss her on the cheek.
Tell ’em someday find someone
loves them like she loves me.
Cuz they’re only little, for a little while.
(to Chorus)

Honorable Mentions

“Wedding Band” by Mallory Johnson with Ryan Sorestad
“I Will Remember” by Jacob Rice with Mark Elliott
“All Hat, No Cattle” by Haley Brown with Jack Hackett
“War on Rewind” by Liam Hale
“To Helena and Back Again” by Lauren Smith with Jason Davis
“Harlan County Math” by Hal ODell with Greg Wilson
“Wild Blue” by James Maltese
“The Wolf and The Lamb” by Laura Glyda
“Christmas Far From Home” by Jim Chalker
“Origami” by Julie Nolen

Read what the judges had to say HERE.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Gore.

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