Music. Moments. Memories.
Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest

CONTEST IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. ENTRIES WERE ACCEPTED FROM OCTOBER 1, 2016 - FEBRUARY 1, 2017.  MerleFest offers songwriters the opportunity to have their original songs heard by a panel of professional songwriters and others from the Nashville music industry by participating in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the WCC Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the Chris Austin Scholarship has helped 84 students and awarded over $34,600. CONTEST DATES FOR NEXT YEAR (2018) WILL BE OCTOBER 1, 2017 - FEBRUARY 1, 2018.

2017 MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Finalists


Mike Bentley (Virgie, Ky.) – “Waiting at the Harbor”

Linda Jean Stokley (Versailles, Ky.) – “Cigarette Trees”

Matthew Hurd (Rogersville, Tenn.) – “Life Underground”


Ian Meadows (Chester, Ct.) – “Faithless Preacher”

Kevin Hale (Brentwood, Tenn.) – “I’m Finally Going Home”

Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.), Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), and Willie Schoellkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.)

“Trap Door (In the Ceiling)”


Carly Burruss (Cumming, Ga.) – “Communion Wine”

Mary Bragg (Nashville, Tenn.), Liz Poston (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Lucky Strike”

Erin James (Nashville, Tenn.) – “Wilted Flower”


Alexa Rose (Boone, N.C.)– “Borrow your Heart”

Catherine Backus (Bedford, Va.) – “Tomatoes”

Shay Martin Lovette (Boone, N.C.), Locke Griffith (Carrboro, N.C.) – “Bermuda Run”