Meet The 2018 Songwriter Contest & Awards Judges

The Judges for the 2018 Songwriter Contest and awards is an impressive and influential team of professionals whose experience and background provide for a fair and quality judging process.  They are:  Rod PhelpsDel WayChad MauldinLinda Wilson, Richard Wilson

Rod Phelps

Rod Phelps

Rod Phelps has a 50 year history of working in the entertainment industry, starting with booking acts while at Baylor University.

Mr. Phelps, an entertainment attorney, served as general counsel for the Dallas Songwriter's Association from its inception until the mid-2000's.  He discovered and was the major force behind the careers of Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert, Chris Cagle and Rory Lee Feeks.

In 1985, Rod Phelps drove from Dallas to listen to Garth Brooks. Phelps liked what he heard and produced Brooks' first demo. With Phelps's encouragement, including a list of Phelps' contacts in Nashville and some of his credit cards, Brooks traveled to Nashville to pursue a recording contract.

Phelps also discovered Miranda Lambert, who was hired in 2002 to perform at his nephew Tye Phelps' country music venue in Plano, TX, "Love And War in Texas".  There Miranda and her father, Rick, met Rod Phelps who was impressed with the Lamberts and sent letters and demos to producer and record executive Mark Wright and Garth's manager, Bob Doyle. Their positive responses induced Miranda to return to Nashville and the rest is history.

Del Way

Del Way is a Christian Country singer/songwriter and and Pastor.  In the last twenty years, Del has written and recorded numerous songs, each with a unique message that reaches and changes people. He has been nominated for numerous awards and been awarded many – his most recent being the 2007 Entertainer of the Year for the Christian Country Music Association. He has written many songs that have charted number one on the Christian Country Music Charts. Some of Del's songs are Calvary's the Reason Why, There's a Cross Standing in the Way, The Old Man is Dead and many more.  Del is often invited to appear on the nationally televised Praise the Lord program called By The Way.

Del accomplished his 16th project, Livin’ this Life, with two of the songs from this project already doing well on the national charts for Christian Country Music. His current singles are Card Carrying Christian, which debuted at number 27 on the charts, and This Far From You. His latest number one single is Until Your Love from his Cavalry’s the Reason Why Reloaded project.

Along with a successful music ministry, Del is the Pastor of Calvalry Temple Church in Kerrville, Texas. He oversees three other churches in the area, Thousand Hills Cowboy Church, Calvary Temple Church in Centerpoint/Comfort, and Thunder in the Hills Biker Church.

Del’s life is busy to say the least, but he is not slowing down. He says he must make hay while the sun still shines, and the light is shining bright now. He is anxious to see what God has in store next, and Del knows that his best days are still ahead.

Chad Mauldin

Chad Mauldin picked up his first instrument when he was five years old. His father, an accomplished guitar player, songwriter and locally renowned performer, began Chad's musical education a full year before his traditional education would commence. Since those early days, Chad has been a passionate student of all facets of melody, song structure and performance. While the guitar is his specialty, Chad also developed proficiencies with piano, bass, drums and a variety of percussion instruments. It is from a musician's viewpoint rather than strictly a technical orientation that Chad approaches producing and mixing.

Having left the live performance side of music a number ofyears ago, now Chad's main focus is directed toward the other side of the glass, helping others realize their artistic goals. While basing much of his work  in the Dallas/Fort Worth area from 2003-2010 at Fossil Tracks recording, Chad worked with such luminaries as three time Grammy winner Larry Franklin, 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Soul Stirrers, A-list multi-instrumentalist Milo Deering and rock guitar prodigy Lucas Martin. More recently in the East Texas area, Chad has worked with such Texas country artists as Kirk BaxleyChris Colstonand Kadie Lynn of America's Got Talent fame.

Mauldin has been actively involved in the Texas Country Music Association was Producer of the 2017 Texas Country Music Awards.  He serves as one of TCMA's top advisors.

Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson is the Chairman of the Board and President of the Texas Country Music Association, Inc. and its charity, Texas Country Cares, which she founded in 2011. Her past and current involvement in the Country Music industry prompted her to initiate the TCMA and, along with it's members, have built it to be the most influential and energizing organization dedicated to the promotion and support of both established and new independent Country and Christian Country Music Artists, Singers, Songwriters and Musicians from Texas as well as those who perform in Texas.

Linda Wilson formerly founded, owned and published Texas Country Music Magazine and Today's Country Magazine in Houston and cross promoted them with KIKK Radio.  She interviewed and wrote about a host of Country Artists who were both from and performing regularly in Texas, such as Terry McBride, Tanya Tucker, Shania Twain, Toby Keith, George Strait, Tracy Lawrence, and the TCMA’s own Spokesperson, Mark Chesnutt, along with many more.  

Additionally she partnered in a booking and management agency that secured performance dates in Texas for up-and-coming artists at that time, such as Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Doug Supernaw and Rick Trevino, and established artists such as Ricky Van Shelton, Travis Tritt, Mark Colle, John Conlee and Joe Diffie, to name a few. With almost 30 years’ experience in the Country Music Industry in booking, management, marketing, media and promotion, event coordination, performance and recording, Linda Wilson’s experience, contacts, marketing and promotion savvy qualifies her to lead the organization with style and effectiveness.  She also served as Praise and Worship Leader in church for 20 years.

Richard A. Wilson
Richard Wilson is an accomplished musician -- primarily a drummer and percussionist, as well as a vocalist who has spent a lifetime involved in the performance end of live music and studio session work.

As a teen and young adult, Richard traveled with The Wilson Family Singers, his family's gospel music evangelistic group where he played drums and led vocals. Since that time Richard has been drummer and vocalist in live country bands opening for and playing with major acts in Texas.

The past 10 years he has been with with Steve Mays and Three of a Kind, a band specializing in traditional Country whose home base is in East Texas and performs throughout the State.  They performed at the Pre-Show for the 2017 Texas Country Music Awards.

Mr. Wilson serves as a Board Member and Vice President of the Texas County Music Association, as well as Music Director for the Texas Country Music Awards.

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