Mike Auldridge Instrumental Composition Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Mike Auldridge Instrumental Competition!

1st Place: Meet the Metro Gnome by Jim Millward, Washington, DC

2nd Place: Mysterious Eyes by Keith Arneson, Bowie, MD

3rd Place: Goodbye Lianne by Gina Clowes, Winchester, VA

Many thanks to our judges:

Tom Adams
Katy Daley
Patrick McAvinue

Mike AuldridgeThe Mike Auldridge instrumental Composition Contest honors the life and musicianship of one of America’s greatest bluegrass players. His smooth and effortlessly tasteful Dobro guitar work borrowed from Josh Graves, but added swing, blues and horn influences to arrive at a uniquely new sound. By the time Mike co-founded the Seldom Scene in 1971, his musical touch was unmistakable – and over the next 40 years Auldridge became a pillar of Washington bluegrass history.

Mike Auldridge was born in 1938 in Washington, DC. He spent his life in the Maryland suburbs but his musical influence went far beyond the Beltway. Aside from his own solo recordings and those with the Seldom Scene, Mike was in heavy demand as a session player and appeared on recordings by Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Jonathan Edwards, and Ry Cooder, among many others. Auldridge received the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award in 2012, the last year of his life.

Contest Rules

Prizes, Judging, Performance, and Rights

  • Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Prizes are awarded jointly to all co-authors; the award will be sent to the author whose name and address is on the entry form. Division of prize money among co-authors is the responsibility of winners.
    • 1st place: $500, winner performs his/her winning tune at the 2018 DC Bluegrass Festival, and two full-festival passes
    • 2nd place: $250
    • 3rd place: $100
  • Entries will be judged by a 3-judge panel of music industry leaders whose identities will be made public when winners are announced. Please know that all submissions are duly considered and treated fairly by our volunteer judges.
  • Entries will be judged on melody, chord structure, catchiness and originality. Extended improvisation is discouraged.
  • This is NOT a competition of picking prowess. Music production and performance quality are not considered in the judging process.
  • All decisions by judges are final.
  • Contestant authors retain all rights to their work.

Contest Opening and Deadline

  • The Mike Auldridge Instrumental Composition Contest will accept entries beginning August 1, 2017.
  • The entry deadline is midnight on October 15, 2017. All online entries and entry fee payments must be received by this time, and all entry fees submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than October 15, 2017.
  • The top 3 winners will be announced December 1, 2017.


  • The Mike Auldridge Instrumental Composition Contest is open to all whose primary source of income (50 percent or more) is not derived from music publishing. Income from performances is not music publishing income.
  • All entries submitted must be in the bluegrass, old time, or related music styles.
  • All entries must be the original work of contestants and shall not infringe on any copyright or any other rights of any third party.
  • Contestants may enter as many instrumentals as desired.
  • Each entry must consist of an audio file of an instrumental performance by one or more musicians.