Annual Song Contest held by the Dallas Songwriters Association to provide a benchmark for popular songwriting competency. Winners in each category, plus grand prize winners.

CATEGORIES AND JUDGES:Finalists in each category will be judged by music industry professionals from record labels and publishing companies; Grand Prize winner will be chosen by A&R and/or industry professionals of Broadjam.com



2008 Song Contest Winners

Missing You

    Mark Glasmire, Arlington, TX, USA
My Devil Does 

     Will Hopkins, Nashville, TN, USA

Brandi Sidoryk, Calgary, Alberta CANADA
Critiques by Grand Prize Judge Roy Elkins

It was a little more challenging this year as I had forty songs to listen to and didn’t really have a definite leader until the last minute.  It’s possible if I listened another week, that anyone of the Top 3 could have won.  This was the toughest year yet and probably listened to every song close to 10 times.  I’m honored to be part of this process for this great organization.  Please find my picks below.


Simply a nice song that could be played on any instrument with vocal or as an instrumental.  Very easy to listen to and everyone who hears this song can share the writer’s experience.  The overall feel of the lyric and the marriage to the music is the best in this collection.  I love the rhyme in the setups, however the actual lyrics are not as strong as phrasing and melody.  An example might be "My heart holds the key, to those memories" could be a little more unique.  "So many tears I've cried" sounds forced and if I was producing, I would ask the writer to say it a different and more natural way.  The song is great except for a few forced and “pre-owned” lyrics.  This is a very good songwriter and I would love to hear more from them as I would bet they have more like this in their arsenal.  This is my choice as the DSA 2008 Song Contest winner.

My Devil Does

One of the best concepts for a song I've ever heard.  The lyric will hit home to anyone who ever listens to it, especially artistic types who judge songwriting contests.  Every lyric in this song is strong and well written.  "Struggle to juggle the darkness and the light" is a brilliant rhyme and lyric.  In the verse, the rhythm of the music seems to compete at times with the lyric. I have thought that I might be hearing more production than songwriting when making this comment, so I have given the writer the benefit as I feel strongly about the raw components of this song. I believe with a more straightforward, audience friendly melodic structure in the verses, it's a hit.  This lyric is so good that nothing rhythmically or melodically should get in its way.  Even with an average score on melody and structure, it’s still very strong.  After hearing this version, the writer will have a difficult time producing a new one without this influence.  If I was the writer, I would give this lyric and chord progression to as many producers and see what they come up with.  I think you have a great hook and a lyrical hit here.  Although I have made some constructive comments, I am more excited about this song in its untreated form than any song here.  This is definitely a hit with a few tweaks.  This writer is definitely experienced and good.  This is second place.

This song stands out more than any song in this competition.  The lyrics are simply captivating and you can't wait to hear the next line.  The line where the singer couldn't find a pen so she "keyed I love you muffington on the driver door" is as good as it gets.  At first, I was a little uncomfortable with the phrasing, but it grew on me and after hearing this song 6 or 7 times, I still look forward to hearing it again.  Definitely a strangely inspired song.  The melody underneath "If you ask me to, I'd come for you" is very "hooky", but I'm not sure the rest of the song has quite as memorable melodically.  With that said, it is by far the most entertaining song I've heard in this collection.  My guess is that this is not a prolific writer, but one who creates interesting and unique songs on a regular.  I’d like to hear more from them.  This is third place. 

This song was not in my original favorites, and if I had made my choice after the first or second listen, it wouldn't have made the top group.  The opening line of the chorus has a very rhythmic melody line where you feel moved. The setup for the chorus is perfect.  If you close your eyes and listen to the melody in the setup without the lyric, it sounds like it's saying "Oh no, you don't mean that".  The marriage of lyric and melody in this song is as good as it.  It sounds to me that the singer is the writer and has worked and played this song for awhile.  The phrasing is absolutely polished. Some may think this is a production comment, but I think it's someone who perfected a lyric with the perfect rhythm and melody to match it, especially in the setup and the chorus.  The more I listened, the more I wanted to listen.  Another great writer that I would like to learn more about. 

This is one of the most interesting lyrics I’ve heard in a long time.  The social and political lines are only outdone by the sincerity of some of the others, like "still wondering why the good Lord, had to take the other one" when referring to Vernon’s son, Elvis’ brother.  Melody could develop with the story as it gets a little repetitive by the fourth time around. The hook makes one ask what is this about?  I think the story could resolve a little differently in end and conclude that it’s about Elvis’ dad.  From a structure (not production) point, it might have been a bit too leisurely, but I still found myself singing "When Vernon moved......to Memphis, Tennessee" from the first time I heard it and every round thereafter.  This is very good.

"Shut Up, Shut Up, before you say something that makes me want to care for you" is a great line that is kicked off by a very memorable hook at the front end of it.  This is one of those hooks that also stuck with me throughout the listening sessions and that’s why it made in the top group.  However, the words in the verse seemed like they could be from a different song as they really don't complement the hook.  If I heard the hook first in the song, I would expect the verse to be reflective of somebody talking about their relationship with singer to the singer.

Appealing opening, "Wait". When the vocal hits the chorus, the words hit double time and really bring the song to life.  It feels genuine and real at this point. Name of the song should be "Butterflies" as this is the most memorable line in the song.  I felt overall it’s a good song, but the writing style feels slightly dated.
Pretty Young Girl, Nice song, very good melody and phrasing, good imagery "dancing on the pole 3 times a night, good storyline, very current & sellable pop song.  I thought this was original, but without a persuasive and memorable hook.  With that said, it’s a good tune.

Really a nice tune that takes me to the Cahn, Porter and Gershwin days.  I could listen to this song many times and not get tired of it.  I thought some of the verse lyrics didn't match up to the rest of the song.  "I'd love you like no other can and hold you in my arms, etc....These words have been said in song so many times.  If I was the writer, I would explore a different way to say the same thing. With that said, I still love it.

Here 2008 winning songs in a series of three podcasts at:

Americana / Folk / Bluegrass
Missing YouMark Glasmire, Arlington, TX, USA
StalkerBrandi Sidoryk, Calgary, Alberta CANADA
When Vernon Moved From TupeloMark Stepakoff, Wellesley, MA, USA
Christian / Inspirational
On My Way
David Rebb Furman, Goshen, CA, USA
WantedKevin McSpadden, Sterling City, TX, USA
Take Us AwayDarren Speed, North Richland Hills, TX, USA
The Damage Is Done
Kate McGunnigle, Jane Bach, Carmel, NY, USA
I Just Want To Be A Kid AgainJohn & Jim Mears, Hermitage, TN, USA
Wrote That In BlueRay Phillips, Kevin Sproul, Rowlett, TX, USA
You Can Always Come HomeBill DiLuigi, Karen Paparelli, Nashville TN, USA
The Homecoming DanceLisa Simmons, Lewisville, TX, USA
Instrumental / TV / Film / Classical / Jazz
Richard Gardzina, Alton, NH, USA
EdistoMelinda Starnes, Augusta, GA, USA
Impromptu #1Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA, USA
La Mariposa LocaDan Moorehouse, Burbank, CA, USA
HMGratitudeMelinda Starnes, Augusta, GA, USA
HMRainbow's EndMelinda Starnes, Augusta, GA, USA
Love Songs / E-Z Listening
Love Gone MadJoey Avalos, Broken Arrow, OK, USA
With You 
Noel Cohen, Hugh Colocott, Amber Rhodes, NY, NY, USA
All Of My LifeJose Gomez, Sheree Sano, NY, NY, USA
Ghoul On A MuleFrank Fulton, Annapolis, MD, USA
Mistletoin'Louie Cate, Alexandria, VA, USA
Hey Baby LlamaDonna Lisa, Westfield, NJ, USA
Pop / Rock /Alt / R&B / Urban
Starting Today (Pop Rock Mix)
Will Hopkins, Ellen Britton, Nashville, TN, USA
Shut Up (Updated Version) Brain Bryant, Spring, TX, USA
Right HereMichael Constantino, Weston-Super Mare, UK
3.Get Over ItJoey Avalos, Broken Arrow, OK, USA
HMUntil Love Comes This Way AgainRay Phillips, Richard Davis, Rowlett, TX, USA
Singer Songwriter
Mahalia JaneGarrison Doles, Orlando, FLA, USA
Same Damn Thing Sean Murphy, Dana Point, CA, USA
Rags To Gold Neil Nasset, Austin, TX, USA
Everybody Needs A DreamChris Liddiard, Heathfield, Southeast, UK
My Devil Does Will Hopkins, Nashville, TN, USA
What's Bothering Me?Jen Carter-Kelly, Plattsburgh, NY, USA
Time To LoveDennis Carlan, Melrose, MA, USA
Cleveland BluesMarc McClure, Encinitas, CA, USA
If I Could Be Your Lovin' Man Emilie Pandolfie, Greenville, SC, USA
Music Video
This Is WarStephen P. Richards, Wilmington, NC, USA
San SimonNatalia Pikoul & Sister, Sao Joao da Medeira, PORTUGAL
Tilt Me BackCasey Desmond, Boston, MA, USA

Semifinalists of the 2008 Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest

Bittersweet by Klaus Adamashek, Rotenberg, Germany
Cattle on a Thousand Hills by Michael Milton, Signal Mountain, TN
Cloud Nine by Mimi Balkey, Don Townsley, Steve Ritter, Dallas, TX
Love is a Wildfire by Carolann Ames, San Diego, CA
Missing You by Mark Glasmire, Arlington, Texas
Pluto by David August Bozeman, MT
Singing Hallelujah by Theresa Arnold, Aubrey, TX
So long Abilene by Carolann Ames, San Diego, CA
Stalker by Brandi Sidoryk, Calgary Alberta, Canada
When Vernon Moved From Tupelo by Mark Stepakoff, Wellesley, MA

Bare Bones
Cleveland Blues by Marc McClure, Tucson, AZ
Don't Be A Loner In Beaumont by Michele Garcia, Pflugerville,TX
Don't You Cry by Bruce Coleman, Perth Western, Australia
If I Could Be Your Lovin' Man by Emile Pandolfi, Greenville, SC
If It Aint Broke by Chris Liddiard, Heathfield, South East, UK
Just A Little Bit Lonely by Peter Robinson, Bethesda, MD
My Devil Does by Will Hopkins, Nashville, TN
Strip Away by Richard Hastings, Parkland, FL
Take It Back by Scott Hoying, Arlington, Tx
Time To Love by Dennis Carlan, Melrose, MA
Too Much Country by Terri Fann, Jim Garrett, Austin, TX
What's Bothering Me by Jen Carter-Kelly, Plattsburgh, NY
Without My Baby by Tom Clawson, Toledo, OH
Dad Said a Bad Word by Lanny Sherwin, Santa Barbara, CA
Ghoul On A Mule by Frank Fulton, Annapolis, Maryland
Here You Are (Parker's Lullaby) by Diane Hawkins, Apopka, Florida
Hey Baby Llama by Donna Lisa, Westfield, New Jersey
Long Gone Birthdays by Genell Kelso, Dallas, TX
Mistletoin by Louie Cate, Alexandria, VA
My Malamute by Donna Lisa, Westfield, NJ
Over in the Clover by Gaylon Embrey, Quitman, TX
Stinky Feet by Lanny Sherwin, Santa Barbara, CA
Toucan You Can by Donna Lisa, Westfield, NJ

Area 51 by Kelcie Exline, Clearwater, KA
Beauty by Elise MacPherson, South Windsor, CT
Call your name by Jim Ferrie, Paris, France
God’s Love by Louie Cate, Alexandria, VA
Landon's Puzzle by Stephen Springfield, McKinney, TX
Legend by Damir Stasic, Willow Springs, IL
On My Way by David Rebb Firman, Goshen, CA
Only One Wish by Takahiro Nakamine, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
Take Us Away by Darren Speed, North Richland Hills, TX
Wanted by Kevin McSpadden, Sterling City, TX
Nobody by William Bradford, Twin Falls, Idaho

Cloud Nine by Mimi Balkey, Don Townsley, Steve Ritter, Dallas, TX
Coming Home by Marirose Powell, Michelle Turnbeaugh, Riverbank, CA
Dallas On My Mind by Michael Hollingsworth, Tom Drennan, LA, CA
Dreamin' 'Bout Dancin' by Terri Fann, Adams/Swinford, Austin, TX
Ford Fairlane by Ryan Martinez, Los Angeles, California
Forget About You by Steven Sumners, Gunter, TX
Four Wheel Drive by Mimi Balkey, Don Townsley, Steve Ritter, Dallas, TX
Friends and Lovers by Mandi Sawatzki & Greg Kevorkian, Birch Run, MI
I Just Want to Be a Kid Again by John & Jim Mears, Hermitage, TN
I Miss You Loving Me by Greg Whitfield, Round Rock, TX
I'm Not Him by Bill DiLuigi, Nashville, TN
Look Beyond by Jerry Dobson, Waxahachie, TX
My Devil Does by Will Hopkins, Nashville, TN
No More Chances by Mellina Barnett, Gavin Beckwith, Moreton in Marsh, UK
Promise Me Beautiful by Lori Kelley, Centreville, VA
September In My Mind by Ray Phillips,  R Davis, Rowlett, TX
She Loves To Infinity by Ray Phillips, Richard Davis, Rowlett, TX
SOMEBODY PINCH ME by Andy Taylor, Marietta, GA
Someone Call 911 by Paul Hunnecutt, Harrison, AR
Stuck in a Small Town by Steven Sumners, Gunter, TX
Sweetwater County Line by Ryan Martinezy, Los Angeles, CA
The Damage Is Done by Kate McGunnigle Carmel, New York
The Homecoming Dance by Lisa Simmons, Lewisville, TX
The Wrong Side of Love by Kathy Davidson, Robb McMahan, Marshall, Tx
This Road I'm Walking Now by Richard Davis, Ray Phillips, Rowlett, TX
When The Party Starts by Mimi Balkey, Don Townsley, Steve Ritter, Dallas, TX
Wishin’ In One Hand by Jerry Dobson, Waxahachie, TX
Wrote That In Blue by Ray Phillips, K Sproul, Rowlett, Texas
You Can Always Come Home by Bill DiLuigi & Karin Paparelli, Nashville, TN
Edisto by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA
Gratitude by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA
I Will Waltz For You by Harold W. Wren III, Valley Mills, TX
Impromptu # 1 by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA
Kindred Spirits by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA
La Mariposa Loca by Dan Morehouse, Burbank, California
Marine Life by Joe Perlaky, Oregon, Ohio
Newday by Ernie Miragliotta, Pennington, New Jersey
October by Richard Gardzina, Alton, New Hampshire
Rainbow's End by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, Georgia
Scarecrow's Day Dream by John Visconti, Merrick, New York
Toolless by Ernie Miragliotta, Pennington, New Jersey
What’s Poppin ? by Jamal Mathis, Dallas, TX
The Gathering by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA
Nocturne # 1 by Melinda Starnes, Augusta, GA

Love Songs/EZ Listening
A song for you by Damir Stasic, Willow Springs, Illinois
ALL OF MY LIFE by Jose Gomez & Sheree Sano, NY NY
Its Just A Matter Of Time by mark crisp, arroyo grande, CA
Love Gone Mad by  Joey Avalos, Broken Arrow, OK
September In My Mind by Ray Phillips,  R Davis, Rowlett TX
The Homecoming Dance by lisa simmons, lewisville, Texas
This Love by Jeff Moore, Dallas, TX
'Til I Get Over You by Jackie Doss, Dallas, Texas
With You by Noel Cohen, Hugh Colocott, Amber Rhodes, NY, NY
You Opened My Eyes by Mark Glasmire, Arlington, TX

5 Minutes Ago by Marirose Powell, Michelle Turnbeaugh, Riverbank, CA
Apart by Freddy Litwiniuk, Calgary, Alberta
Chilly Allston by Casey Desmond, Brighton, MA
Come Around by Michael Wittig, Chris Cleveland, Broken Arrow, OK
Hiding Me by Marirose Powell & Michelle Turnbeaugh, Riverbank, CA
My Hill by John Suprock & Scott Reiber, Bel Air, Maryland
Pathetic by Marirose Powell, Michelle Turnbeaugh, Riverbank, CA
Right Here by Michael Constantino, Weston-Super-Mare, UK
She's Got Nothin' by Linda Moroziuk, Lindsay Broughton, Toronto, ONT
Shut Up by Bryan Bryant, Spring, Texas
Starting Today by Ellen Brighton & Will Hopkins, Nashville, TN
That's What You Say by Donald Berry, Flower Mound, Texas
Until Love Comes This Way Again by Ray Phillips, Richard Davis, Rowlett, TX
Get Over It by Joey Avalos, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

All That I Am by Robert Meany, Bloomington, Minnesota
April by Adam Swink, Vienna, Virginia
Everybody Needs A Dream by Chris Liddiard, Heathfield South East, UK
Fallen Mockingbird by Drew Blackard, Dallas, Tx
Leave Some Fire For Me by Steve Chambers, Naperville, IL
Look Beyond by Jerry Dobson, Waxahachie, TX
Mahalia Jane by Garrison Doles, Orlando, Florida
Nothing to Lose by Effron White, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Rags To Gold by Niel Nasset, Austin, Texas
Salty Water by Terri Fann, Austin, Texas
Same Damn Thing by Sean Murphy, Dana Point, California
Aquablue by Klaus Adamashek Rotenberg, Rotenberg, Germany
DREAMS & SHADOWS by Klaus Adamashek, Rotenberg, Germany
Freedom fighter by Klaus Adamashek Rotenberg, Germany

The Naughty Girl by Ron & Lisa Potter, Winter Park, Florida
This is My War by Steven Richards, Wilmington, North Carolina
A Time For Change by Don Coyne, Los Angeles, California
San Simon by Natalia Pikoul, Sister Pikoul, Sao Joao da Madeira,  Portugal
Still by Douglas Borro Scottsdale, Arizona
Tilt Me Back by Casey Desmond, Boston MA

Grand Prize JudgeRoy Elkins
Founder and CEO of Broadjam 
Pop/RockAlt/R&B/Urban Judge
Barbe McMillen
Singer-Songwriter JudgeRob Fraboni
Love Songs/Easy Listening Judge
Ron Grimes
Christian/Inspirational JudgeKeith Ferguson
Country Judge
Marty Rendleman
Folk/Americana/Bluegrass Judge
Brandi Warden
Children’s/Novelty Judge
Kim Copeland
Instrumental JudgeDon Ashley
Barebones Judge
David Card
Music Video JudgeBart Weiss

Grand Prize Winner will take away a Gibson Guitar (List Value over $900!), a 1 year Primo-MoB Membership, including artist website and 1 year hosting From Broadjam ($199.95 value), and a Premier Demo by Beaird Music Group ($705 Value)
First Runner Up receives 1 Day of FREE Recording and a Night in  Merlin's Cabin at River Sound Recording Studio on the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country,  a 1 year Primo-MoB Membership, including artist website and 1 year hosting From Broadjam ($199.95 value),
2nd Runner Up receives a 40 minute song consultation with Kim Copeland
First Place Winners in each of the eight categories will receive $100 in cash, 1 year Broadjam MoB Membership, and a Dallas Songwriter Association 1 year membership ($50 value)
Second Place Winners in each category will receive $50 in cash, and a Dallas Songwriter Association 1 year membership ($50 value).
Third Place Winners will receive a Dallas Songwriter Association 1 year membership($50 value).


10. You can win a casio privia keyboard.

9. You can win cash

8. You can win a one year DSA membership or more.

7. You can get a free trial membership for entering online at Broadjam

6. Semifinalists get a chance to perform at the Awards or other DSA Showcases

5. Semifinalists and Winners get their names published in Songwriter Notes and the Press Release

4. Entrants can get peer review on their song

3. Winners get their songs on the awards soundcloud site.

2. Contest recognition looks good on your resume

1. We are a small contest, so you have a better chance to win.

Now in it's 29th year!

The DSA Song Contest is one of the longest running international song contests for amateur songwriters. Offering over $5,000 in cash and prizes this year, the DSA has EIGHT categories in all. See Contest Rules for eligibility.


Join -Learn - Collaborate - Grow
DSA is a 501 C-3 non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing to songwriters everywhere opportunities for learning about the craft and business of songwriting. Songwriters Newsletter is published by the Dallas Songwriters Association c/o Sammons Center for the Arts 3630 Harry Hines Blvd Box 20 Dallas, TX 75219.
Barbara McMillen, Editor, Founding President Emeritus http://www.barbaramcmillen.com