September 18, 2018
Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Accepting Entries
Beginning October 1
WILKESBORO, N.C. (September 18, 2018) – MerleFest , presented by Window World, will begin accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) on October 1 . CASC is one of the most acclaimed songwriting contests in roots and Americana music and has a reputation for launching careers as well as drawing attention to important new talent. The contest is split into four genre-based categories including bluegrass, general, gospel, and country. First through third place winners will be chosen in each category at Merlefest 2019, set to take place on April 25 – 28, 2019 . MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.
Now in its 27th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale . Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is February 1, 2019 .
Finalists will be invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, April 26, during MerleFest. First place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest, a performance slot on MerleFest’s Cabin Stage on Friday night, and a 20-30 minute set on Saturday morning or afternoon.
“We are extremely proud of the career successes achieved by many CASC alumni. Among these are Gillian Welch (1993), David Via (1997, 2001), Johnny Williams (1998, 1999), Tift Merritt (2000), Becky Buller (2001), Michael Reno Harrell (2003), Adrienne Young (2003), Martha Scanlan (2003), Sam Quinn (2006) and Jeanette Williams (2007),” said Lee K. Cornett, coordinator of MerleFest’s CASC. “More recent alumni include Lara Lynn (2011) and Gary Alan Ferguson (2014). Other recent discoveries from the contest are Melody Walker of Front Country and Joseph Terrell of Mipso. I encourage all songwriters to put the final touches on your masterpiece and submit it to the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest!”
MerleFest 2018 Bluegrass winners include: Vickie Austin (1st Place), James Woolsey (2nd Place), and Frank D. Ray (3rd Place) Gospel winners : Beth Lee (1st Place), Bob Hight (2nd Place), and Andy Owens (3rd Place). Country winners : Amanda Fields (1st Place), Marie Bradshaw (2nd Place), Cliff Westfall (3rd Place). General winners : Cliff Ritchey (1st Place), Bryan Elijah Smith (2nd Place), Zander Michigan (3rd Place).
Net proceeds from the contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has awarded over $42,500 to deserving students. For contest rules, ways to enter, and more details about the contest, visit http://merlefest.org/chris-austin-songwriting-contest/ .
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
About Chris Austin
Chris Austin, from Boone, North Carolina, worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. During that time, he was discovered by executives at Warner Bros. who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles including “Blues Stay Away from Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” Austin also developed his songwriting skills, as evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991. On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warner Songs and former general manager of The Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, previous “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.
About Window World
Window World®, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with over 15 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR® partner and its windows, vinyl siding and Therma-Tru doors have all earned the Good Housekeeping Seal. Through its charitable foundation, Window World Cares® , the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, the foundation has raised over $8 million for St. Jude. Window World also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a nonprofit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. Window World has flown over 100 missions and surpassed $1 million in flights and in-kind donations since it began its partnership with the VAC in 2008. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXTWINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter .
For more information , visit www.MerleFest.org .
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