Texas Country Music Association Announces 2023 TCMA Songwriter Contest Top 10 Finalists

Annual Songwriter Contest Includes 10 Finalists in Both Country and Christian Country Music Categories


FORT WORTH, TX (August 3, 2023) -- The Texas Country Music Association announced today that the 2023 TCMA Songwriter Contest’s Preliminary Round Judges have named the top 10 Finalists in each the Country and Christian Country categories. Those top 10 Finalists now move to the Final Round Judges for scoring.

There were 342 total songs submitted in both categories and all entries were original works. Preliminary Round Judges scored each song on creativity, lyrics, melody, arrangement, originality, and overall technique.

According to Texas Country Music Association President, Linda Wilson, the TCMA Songwriter Contest is always a tremendous success and highly effective program for TCMA Member Songwriters. “All of the songs were fabulous and there are so many great songwriters in Texas who deserve recognition. It is our job as a supporting organization to encourage them and work on their behalf to help get them exposure. It was certainly difficult for preliminary round judges to choose only 10 in each format and to narrow the list down.”

The 2023 Country Songwriter of the Year and 2023 Christian Country Songwriter of the Year Overall Winner in each category will be announced prior to the 2023 Texas Country Music Awards and will have the opportunity to perform the song they submitted during the Awards’ pre-show. Five Honorable Mentions, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Place Runners Up will also be announced prior to the Awards show and will be verbally recognized during the pre-show and will be able to pick up their trophies there, or will be mailed their trophies. 

The 2023 TCMA Country Songwriter Contest Top 10 Finalists are (in no particular order):

  • ·         Charlie McCabe for “Hard To Quit”
  • ·         Charlie McCabe for “Amigo”
  • ·         Jacob Wheeler for “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”
  • ·         Joe Darwin for “Gone To Texas”
  • ·         Matthew Soileau, Brandon Chase for “When It Rains I Pour”
  • ·         Nate Burnham, Zach Linley for “Guitar In My Hand”
  • ·         Paige Lewis for “Under the Texas Sky”
  • ·         Ray Nicole Martin, Christian Martin, Conrad Johnson for “Honky Tonk”
  • ·         Trey Calloway for “One Tough Job”
  • ·         Trey Calloway, Greg Wilson, Hal O’Dell for “You Are”

The 2023 TCMA Christian Country (includes Faith Based, Inspirational, Positive and Christian Country) Songwriter Contest Top 10 Finalists are (in no particular order):

  • ·         Christian Martin, Ray Nicole Martin, Clay Thrash for “Book of Momma”
  • ·         Jacob Bryant, Jami Grooms for “Outlaw Jesus”
  • ·         Jacob Wheeler for “You Found Me In A Bar”
  • ·         Jed Seneca, Claire Seneca, Kevin Click for “Hallelujah Feeling”
  • ·         Meredith Crawford for “When God Made Horses”
  • ·         Payton Howie, Michel Austin, Erik Halbig for “Jail and Jesus”
  • ·         Payton Riley for “He Chose You For A Reason”
  • ·         Steve Waites for “Lead Me On”
  • ·         Tara Tinsley for “Faith”
  • ·         Tiona Campbell, Heidi Mays for “Jesus and Coffee”

“The annual songwriter contest is evidence that songwriters pour their hearts into their music.” says TCMA Executive Vice President Richard Wilson.

Plans for Texas Country Music Weekend in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards are underway through the combined effort of the Texas Country Music Association and Stockyards Heritage Development starting Friday, November 10 and winding up with the Awards ceremony on Sunday November 12.  In 2021 and 2022, the Stockyards reported a record number of visitors for Texas Country Music Weekend.

The 2023 Texas Country Music Showcase will be held from 3pm-8pm on Friday, November 10, and on

Saturday, November 11 the Stockyards will host TCMA’s 2023 Texas Country Music Showdown – an 8-band competition with a panel of judges selected Stockyards Heritage Development. The Grand Champion will be announced and awarded at the 2023 Texas Country Music Awards on November 12 at Billy Bob’s, and the 1st and 2nd place runners up will also be announced. After the Showdown on Saturday there will be a free concert with Kate Watson Band.  On Sunday Nov 12 at noon there will be a free Christian Country Concert with the Lone Star Cowboy Church Praise Team led by Jesse Watson, who won the 2022 TCMA Christian Country Songwriter of the Year, along with ministry by the church’s Pastor, Randy Weaver.  Pastor Weaver will also speak the opening prayer at the Awards ceremony later that day.

Tickets are on sale now at For more information about the Texas Country Music Association and the 2023 Texas Country Music Awards, visit

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MEDIA CONTACT (For media use only – do not print):

Linda Wilson, President

Texas Country Music Association, Inc.

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