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Jamen Denton Wins Songwriting Contest

Top Prize is $300 and a Chance to Perform at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe

Post Date:05/30/2018
Jamen Denton, a singer/songwriter who is well known throughout the region as a member of the popular bands Wise Old River and Virginia Ground, has been named the overall winner in the 2018 Richard Leigh Songwriters Contest at Virginia Highlands Community College.
Denton received $300 in prize money and has been invited to perform his winning song. “Fireflies,” at Nashville’s renowned Bluebird Cafe.  The annual contest this year drew 48 entries. Denton’s song was awarded top honors by a team of judges that included local music lovers and members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Denton also won second place and $50 in the Rock/Pop category for his original song “Poor Man.” 
He willl perform at the Bluebird Cafe, a Nashville performance space for songwriters, as a guest of Richard Leigh, the Grammy Award winning songwriter for whom the festival was named. Leigh is a 1973 graduate of VHCC who returns to campus each year with fellow members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to raise money for the Great Expectations Program for foster youth enrolled at VHCC.
Winners were also announced in seven individual music categories. The winning songwriters are:
  • Country: 1st - Scott Miller for “Game Changer;” 2nd - Mitch Townley for “Numbered;” and 3rd - Kacey Buchanan for “All Done.”
  • Folk: 1st - Eric Marshall for “Waterfall;” 2nd - David Ledgerwood for “Mississippi River;” and 3rd - Al Dunkleman for “Old Friend.”
  • Gospel/Inspirational: 1st - Scott Parker & Mitch Townley for “This Side of Sunday;” 2nd - Julia Casey for “I Will Not Be Moved;” and 3rd - Kevin Hales for “Mercy in the Savior’s Heart.”
  • Youth: 1st- Alice Black for “Town of Bodie;” 2nd - Daniel Lee for “Willows;” and 3rd-Delaney Bumgarner for “Play Boy.”
  • Rock/Pop: 1st- Adam Bolt for Surface of Water;” 2nd - Jamen Denton for “Poor Man;” and 3rd - Amanda Jo Cole for “Everythings Gonna Be Alright.”
  • Bluegrass: 1st- Ron Wilhoit for Snow on Mama’s Grave; 2nd- Melinda Davis for “The Broken Glass; and 3rd - Kevin Hale for “A Hard Road Digging that Coal.”
  • Lyrics Only: 1st - Victoria Barber for “American Boots;” 2nd - Daniel Curry for “Tonight” and 3rd - David Winship for “Dirt Cellar (of My Heart).”
The songwriting contest is part of the two-day celebration of song held Memorial Day weekend and highlighted by a Saturday evening performance by visiting meembers of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. This year’s performers were Leigh, Tony Arata, Dennis Morgan and Tim Nichols. Each have won numerous awards for writing songs that have been recorded by some of the top names in country music.


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