The performance area filled as guests prepared to enjoy a live performance from 14 different local musicians at Stonehaus Winery. It was a qualifying round for the Tennessee Songwriters Week competition that was being held statewide. The fifth annual Tennessee Songwriters Week held qualifying rounds January 30 – February 11, 2023. Each round produced two winners that would move on to another round of the competition, with the finale culminating at The Bluebird Cafe.

This night’s showcase was filled with incredible talent, which made it hard for the judges to choose the two winners. In the end, Justin Demps and Aaron Bucks were named winners and move on to the next round at The Palace Theatre in Gallatin at 3 p.m. CT on February 25, 2023.

Tennessee Songwriters Week

The week celebrates the foundation of the craft for which Tennessee is known – music. Tennessee is the home of seven genres of music, making it not only a vital part of our state’s culture and heritage, but arguably our biggest export to the world.

Prior to Tennessee Songwriters Week, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and The Bluebird Cafe wanted to promote the state’s heritage and recognize the contributions of the past and present songwriters to Tennessee. Eligible songwriters were given the opportunity to play their original work at a Qualifying Round, which were hosted by 40 – 50 venues throughout the State. Stonehaus Winery was honored to be one of those venues.

A panel of judges at Stonehaus Winery had to choose two songwriters to advance to the second round for Middle Tennessee venues, which is at The Palace Theatre in Gallatin at 3 p.m. CT on February 25, 2023.

From each of the 7 locations in the second round of this competition, only one songwriter will be selected by a panel of judges to play their original work for the finale at The Bluebird Cafe on March 26, 2023.

The Judges

Brandon Bostic is an award-winning musician, engineer and producer working with bluegrass, Americana, and country artists at the forefront of their genre. GRAMMY winner, Valerie Smith, gave him his start playing guitar and singing harmony vocals with her band, Liberty Pike. In 2015, Bostic made his Grand Ole Opry debut with Country music legend, Patty Loveless, as a member of her world-renowned band. Brandon is also a member of Nashville’s “The Likely Culprits”, a “supergroup” comprised of some of Music City’s best session musicians.

Keith Garrett is a singer/songwriter and musician from East Tennessee. He is a founding member of The Boxcars, a Grammy-nominated bluegrass band and one of the most nominated groups of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Many of Keith’s songs were featured on all four of the records produced by the group, and he has also co-written with some of the best writers in bluegrass and Americana.

Chris West is a founding member of Blue Moon Rising, an East Tennessee bluegrass band known for its original material, much of which was written or co-written by Chris himself. As a part of Blue Moon Rising, Chris has led songwriting workshops all over the country and is particularly well known for his expertise in bluegrass and classic country. Chris has had dozens of songs on the bluegrass and Americana charts.

The Announcer

A native of the town of Dowelltown, located right in the middle of DeKalb County, TN, Tom Duggin has worked as both a broadcaster and a journalist for more than 30 years. His love of music led him into the radio business at the age of 16, and he has worked at a number of stations, including WJLE Radio in Smithville, WBMC and WTRZ in McMinnville, and more recently, WLIV in Livingston and Sports Radio 104.7 in Cookeville. Tom also spent 12 years working with DTC Communications, as both a producer and on-air personality for local channel, DTC3. Tom is likely best known for his work in sports broadcasting, which he has been involved with since 1993. He has broadcast literally thousands of games over the course of his career, and his work along with that of the DTC3 broadcast team was rewarded in 2016 and 2017, with recognition as having the best local TV content among all telephone cooperatives nationwide. Tom also enjoyed several years as Sports Editor for the Smithville Review newspaper and later served as Editor/General Manager of that publication. He also later served as Publisher/Editor of the DeKalb County Times newspaper. Tom has a deep passion for music and the arts, having worked as both an actor and singer in various productions over the years, as well as serving as co-emcee at the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree for 23 years. This year will mark the second consecutive year Tom will have the honor to serve as emcee of the Songwriters’ Showcase at Stonehaus Winery.

The Performers