Rules and Guidelines

Ways to Submit

Online here.

For online entries:

  • Once the entry form is completed, the form will take you to payment for the submission. Payments are process via The Crooked Road’s Paypal account.
  • Entries are $20.00 per song.
  • Multiple song entries can be submitted, but each needs a separate entry form and payment.
  • After your card has been processed, you will be taken to a page, where you upload your mp3 or enter with your YouTube song link.
  • There will be an area to copy and paste song lyrics as part of the entry submission.

Mailed Entries to:

The Crooked Road
1 Heartwood Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210

Entries must include:

  • Completed entry form
  • CD containing 1 song only, 5 minutes or less in length. Mailed entries must include 5 copies of the CDs (for judges and TCR files).
  • Check for $20.00. You may total all entries on 1 check (example: 5 entries = $100.00). Checks must be made out to: The Crooked Road. If your payment does not process, your entry will not be considered eligible.
  • If you are mailing multiple entries, all submissions must have a a separate CD, mp3, or YouTube link, entry form, lyric sheet and entry fee. Sample lyric sheet will be found online, although entrants can use their own.
  • Mailed entries must be received into The Crooked Road office by September 1. The Crooked Road is not responsible for late, lost or damaged, misdirected, or postage due entries.
  • Mailed submission collateral will not be returned.


  • All songs submitted must be original.
  • Songs can celebrate The Crooked Road but should honor Southwest Virginia’s heritage music traditions including, but not limited to, bluegrass, old time, stringband, mountain, gospel, blues, country and folk.
  • Entry fee/s are non-refundable.
  • This competition is open to all amateur and professional songwriters and anyone regardless of nationality or origin.
  • Employees of The Crooked Road, and their families, are not eligible.
  •  Winners will be chosen by a Judging Committee comprised of music professionals including Becky Buller, Johnny & Jeannette Williams, Kris Truelson & Mary Munsey. All five judges will review the initial submissions.  Three judges will be judging the live concert on October 19, 2023.
  • Songs will be judged equally on originality, lyrics, melody and composition. Quality of performance and production will not be considered.
  • Prizes:
    1. First Place winner will receive $500 and the opportunity to record and video the song
    2. Top 4 finalists will receive $100 each
  • Winners will be announced on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at The Crooked Road’s 3rd Thursday Cultural Series event. Finalists and winners will be listed on The Crooked Road’s website at and the songwriting contest website at
  • Entry constitutes permission to use winners’ names, likeness and voices for future publicity and advertising purposes without additional compensation.
  • Winners must confirm that the winner’s song is original and he/she holds rights to the song. Failure to sign and return the form within 30 days [of October 19] will result in immediate disqualification and an alternative winner will be selected.
  • Prizes will be awarded jointly to all authors of any song and division of prizes is not determined by The Crooked Road, and will be the responsibility of winners. The winners release sponsors from all liability regarding prizes won. Taxes are winners’ responsibility. Entrants and their collaborators will retain full rights to all work submitted for the competition.


Submissions Begin: June 26, 2023

Submission Deadline: September 1, 2023

Top 5 Finalists Announced: September 29, 2023

Top 5 Finalists Concert, Live Judging & Winner Announced:  The Crooked Road’s 3rd Thursday Cultural Series at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center – Thursday, October 19, 2023