Hazel Dickens Song Contest

We congratulate the winners of the 2017 Hazel Dickens Song Contest! We received 186 entries and the competition was stiff. By its nature, a song contest is a subjective process. There were many outstanding songs in this bunch and we encourage all the songwriters who entered to keep working their craft. Next year could be your year to win!

Winning Entries

1st: “All the Old Men Are Gone” – Pam Gadd, Joelton, TN

2nd: “Friend and a Friend” – Korby Lenker and Molly Tuttle, Nashville, TN

3rd: “Looking for Sunshine” – Gina Clowes, Winchester, VA

Honorable Mentions
“Jesus, Drive the Train” – Carley Arrowood, Union Mills, NC, and Becky Buller, Manchester, TN
“Ain’t No Good Goodbye” – Louisa Branscomb, White, GA, and Teresa Neal, Austin, TX
“Carolina” – Bruce Jepson, Warren, NJ

We thank our judges for their time and talents: Carl Jackson, Claire Lynch, and Jim Hurst.
All proceeds of the Hazel Dickens Song Contest go to help fund the nonprofit DC Bluegrass Union.
Don’t miss the DC Bluegrass Festival, March 10 and 11, 2017 in Tysons Corner, VA, featuring Pam Gadd performing her winning song on March 11.


Hazel DickensThe Hazel Dickens Song Contest celebrates the life and muse of one of bluegrass music’s most beloved songwriters. From hardscrabble beginnings in West Virginia coal country in 1935, Hazel moved to Baltimore, MD as a young woman to find factory work and quickly connected with local musicians. She started performing throughout the Baltimore/Washington region and was soon recognized for her singular mountain singing style and her gift with a lyric.

Hazel wrote of coal miners, unionization, hard times, feminism and much more. She recorded several albums with duo partner Alice Gerrard in the 1960s and 1970s and went on to release four records as a solo artist. Among her best known songs are Won’t You Come and Sing for Me, West Virginia My Home, Few Old Memories, and Mama’s Hand. Hazel was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship in 2001 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her life came to a close in 2011 following complications from pneumonia.

Click here to see the contest rules.