Enter Today.

Lyricists! Here’s your chance to shine! Enter The Dallas Songwriters Quarterly Lyric Contest Entry fee is $10 per lyric.

Quarterly Entry Deadlines: Winter - March 31 * Spring - June 30 * Summer - September 30 * Fall - December 31


Of course the MAIN prize is what we ALL aspire to:


ALSO: The 1st place winning lyricist receives:

A certificate, $50 cash and a 1 year DSA membership.

The 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winner's lyrics and judges critiques will be published in the DSA “Songwriters Notes” and on the DSA Website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


MARCH 31, 2010

Lyricists! Here’s your chance to shine!
Enter The Dallas Songwriters
Quarterly Lyric Contest

Entry fee is $10 per lyric.

Quarterly Entry Deadlines:
Winter - March 31
Spring - June 30
Summer - September 30
Fall - December 31

Of course the MAIN prize is what we ALL aspire to:
ALSO: The 1st place winning lyricist receives $50 cash.

The 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winner's lyrics and judges critiques
will be published in the DSA “Songwriters Notes”
and on the DSA Website

FALL09 CONTEST Closed - entries being judged


A HUGE THANKS to Nancy Rynders, who has been our Lyric Contest Director for the past few years.


The song structure was good but I felt the content of the song was bland and generic.
Since there are thousands of love songs written, a song really needs to have a 'fresh approach" to become commercial. I'll critique as I write

YOU WOULD LOVE ME SO RIGHT by Andre Kerek Here is a link to the complete song with melody posted on Broadjam.com Once your on the page you'll need to click on the song title. http://www.broadjam.com/artists/songs.php?artistID=30620#

You know my mood when we touch
And read my mind way too much
I can't see how it would be
If you weren't here to live with me

Who would I find who is sincere
Someone who would always be here
Keeping me warm into the night
Who would love me so right
You would love me so right

When times get tough and seem the worst
And I need help, you're there first
You make me lie down next to you (You're next to me when things go wrong)
And bring me up with all that you do (Cause your love for me is so strong)


VERSE 3 (I would leave this verse out because it says nothing new)
When I'm in pain, you have the cure
And know how much I can endure
You lead me to the right path
So I won't catch somebody's wrath


Looking back thru all the years
We had good times and some tears
This may not sound like a big deal (Just want you to know how I feel)
Just wanted you to know how I feel (Cause to me it is a big deal)




(I chose this song because of it's catchy title. It could be a good song if written with more conversational lines and less vagueness)


She's got some magic and she's more than able
To mesmerize and break your certain gaze
He thinks of love in rhyme and storied fables
From his collective and unconscious days

She was his Cinderella on their wedding day
But marriage is not a fairy tale
His expectations of her were too high
When he lifted her bridal veil

CHORUS (I would switch the 3 line chorus, putting the "She's a woman" chorus at the top)
(Put this at bottom)
She's not some pretty maiden
No Galatea waiting
She was born to rise and fall (find a better line)

(Put at top)
She's a woman
She's just a woman
Cinderella not at all

Between the battles and that sweet devotion
Sometimes love feels just like a twice-told tale
Can she survive these Grimm and fabled notions
Can she remain the Princess underneath that bridal veil

Sometimes the glass slipper doesn't fit
And the magic spell is broken
Between her and her Prince Charming
When hurtful words are spoken


BRIDGE? (A bridge is usually not 7 lines long. Why not have a 2 line bridge and a 4th verse)
She wants to be his muse
But she don't know what to do
And she has her own tale to be told
Then something quite alarming
He used to be Prince Charming
Now that spell is broken
Cast down by words unspoken
(I'm sorry, but this bridge made no sense to me whatsoever. What's her problem and what did he do?
I thought this song was about his high expectations of her and she couldn't live up to them. Be specific!)



This is a well written song but so sad. There was another song written on the same subject a few years ago. I just remember in the chorus it said I'll go sky diving.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Winter/Spring 2009 Lyric Contest Winners


The Rider by David McElhinney
Just For One Day by Amy Ralmuto
We Are The Banksters by Eddie Becker

First Place

The Rider by David McElhinney

This is a very good folk song that reminds me of the old song "Ghost Riders in the Sky". It's a little too long but it tells a good story.

Alone on the plains, during some real tough days
The widow and her son were trying to make their way
When them bandits showed up, they terrorized those two
Took all their money, their cattle and their food

As they rode off, the boy screamed in a voice like thunder
You'll be sorry come sunset cause you'll all be six feet under
The Rider will come, you just wait and see
Fore morning comes, you'll wish you'd listened to me

He's tall in the saddle, and he has red eyes
Rides a black stallion that's twenty hands high
Shoots golden bullets out of his pistols from hell
The stink of brimstone is all you'll smell

You'll be punished for all the things you stole
The Rider will see that you pay with your soul
Get your affairs in order and get ready for a fight
Cause a reckoning is coming and it's coming tonight

Now the Rider weren't nothing but a campfire tale
Told to boys by men who had too much ale
Bout how he was once a lonely miner slain for his gold
Now he righted wrong is how the story was told

Now these young thieves had each lived an unruly life
Mean as rattlesnakes, they caused misery and strife
But that very evening, with the moon out of sight
The Rider found their camp, it wasn't much of a fight

He appeared all in black through the midnight plume
And each and every man knew he would seal their doom
They emptied their guns into his body and head
But the Rider stood tall, never winced or bled

He laughed with fury, sending a chill up their spines
His sinister cackle telling them they'd run out of time
The Rider drew and fired, cutting those men to shreds
Then he vanished before the last was dead

Now each bandit was rich with carcasses full of gold
Lot of good it did em' cause now they were cold
Vultures descended on them, like angry bats from hell
Picked their bones clean, 'cept for them golden shells


That next morning when the widow got out of bed
Battered and bruised, is how the story was said
Moved slow across the room, her wounds still raw
She looked our the window, couldn't believe what she saw

In the corral, all her cattle was back
Plus six new horses with saddles and tack
Her son ran outside to inspect the herd
He knew the Rider played the part of shepherd (He knew that the Rider always kept his word)

There was also a satchel, full of gold
Enough to sustain them until they was old
There was a note written in blood on the side of that sack (leave out "there was")
It read live right, do good or I'll be back

You won't see tomorrow if the Rider appears
He is the sum of all your worst fears
If you do wrong, you'll meet him, guaranteed
In the frontier, he is the only law you need

See if you can trim it some and still keep the story intact. Also, make sure the meters match up


This is very cleverly written and sure is apropo for today. It sounds like a musical comedy song or perhaps a semi-rapp song. It's a little long...I'd be curious to hear the music to this one

We Are The Banksters by Eddie Becker ASCAP, Copyright 2009

The Eddie Becker Band / www.eddiebeckerband.com

We are the banksters, the original gangsters
We’ve been on the grift for a long, long time
We are the banksters, the old world gangsters
We’re doin’ the con and we’ll take your very last dime


It ain’t that hard to understand what we do
We go into your country and create a coup
We create the crisis then become your savior
Nobody in the world understands our behavior

We hide it in symbols, hide it in our words
Read the fine print, it’s not that absurd
It’s a pyramid you know and we’re on the top
We’re gonna steal everything and we just can’t stop

We grab all the silver, steal all the gold
We’ll take everything that you want to hold
We’ll take your house and all of your land
Steal all the water and leave you sand

We are the banksters, the Wall Street gangsters
We’ve been on the grift for a long, long time
We are the banksters, the Federal Reserve gangsters
We’re doin’ the con and we’ll take your very last dime


Making money out of air as much as we need
Air is cheap and we got a lot of greed
We’ll fix that though just as sure as you breathe
A big fat tax just to make you seethe

Taxation and inflation are both the same
We just jack up the payments, it’s all in the game
Carbon and the Earth are the next big bubble
Profits will soar and our money will double

We steal all the assets, leverage all our bets
What we leave in our wake is a mountain of debts
We buy all the roads, buy all the ports
Move in our troops and harden all our forts

We are the banksters, the World Bank gangsters
We’ve been on the grift for a long, long time
We are the banksters, the global pranksters
We’re doin’ the con and we’ll take your very last dime


We meet each year, deep in the woods
Plot how to steal all the rest of your goods
It’s a secret you know, out in full view
And we pay off the Government so they’re part of our crew

We’re going to crash the economy and steal all your wealth
Make new foods that’ll ruin your heath
We’ll take away your car so you can’t go far
Then repossess your home in the name of the Czar

It’s order out of chaos, we create the change
We’ll take that too, we got no shame
There ain’t nothing that’s sacred, it’s all in the game
We’ll do the dirty under anybody’s name

We are the lenders, the changers, the central banks
And we collect our dues with guns and tanks
The banksters, the gangsters, bringing you change
To America the beautiful, yeah, home on the range


We are the banksters
Gimmie, Gimmie… Gimmie all your money
The original gangsters
Gimmie, Gimmie… Gimmie all your money
Black Magic pranksters
Gimmie, Gimmie… Gimmie all your money
Bringing you the New World…. Yeah, Financial… Disorder


Just For One Day by Amy Ralmuto

(This verse is just 4 lines, the other verses are 8 lines. Maybe this could be a lead-in bridge. Otherwise the verses have to match in number of lines)
Seems like when things start to go well
Something always gets in the way
Sometimes I wish for once
It could just be my day

It may sound selfish
But everyone has their moments
(Leave these first 2 lines off)
I wanna live my dream
And live life to it's fullest
I wanna be all I can be
And(leave off And) see all I can see
Make everyone wonder
Why they aren't living life like me
Just for one day!

Living in someone's shadow
Tends to be my specialty
I get lost in the darkness
But the light finds me occasionally
Stepping out of my comfort zone
Those notice all around me (this doesn't make sense. Don't you mean "those all around me notice")
But my own unique self (Leave off But)
Is what I want others to see. (rewrite these last 2 lines to make it clearer)


Overcoming my fears
Over powering my thoughts
Overreaching my goals
Which no one had fought (doesn't make sense)
I am becoming myself
No longer lost and confused
Life is gliding real smoothly ("I've gotten so much stronger" is a better line)
And I'm no longer feeling used

(This is a little different than the original chorus. I get what you're trying to do but the choruses should stay the same. Maybe make a bridge that explains his or her makeover)
It's no longer selfish
Everyone has their moments
(Leave out first 2 lines)
I'm living my dream
And living life to it's fullest
I'm being all I can be
And seeing all I can see
Making everyone wonder
Why aren't they living their life like me
One day and all eternity

This song leaves a lot of unanswered questions such as, what happened to make the singer come out of the shadows? It needs a story line because no singer would want to identify with this song. Write it in 3rd person and tell a story about how introverted that person was until she (he) discovered a talent and climbed out of obscurity. As it's written now, it just isn't commercial.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fall 2008 Lyric Contest


Concrete Cowboys by Roger Russell, McKinney, Tx
Drops of Water On The Glass Roger Russell, McKinney, Tx
Time Will Only Tell by Beth Scivally, Ovilla, Tx
What Was Left I Paid The Lawyers by Roger Russell, McKinney, Tx



DSA President, Steve Sullivan, presents Roger Russell with a certificate and check for his winning song, "Concert Cowboys" .

I'm assuming this is a song about city slickers looking for fun and ladies in country bars. I'll critique as I type the song.

We'll put on our western suits
And shine up our cowboy boots
Drive around in my old truck
Trying to tempt old lady luck

Might round up a honey tonight

We are concrete cowboys
Driving my old pickup truck
Driving down the concrete trail
Hoping we'll roundup a honey tonight
(there are no rhymes in this chorus.Perhaps something like this:
We are concrete cowboys
Driving down the concrete trail
Looking for fun and ladies
Sure not wanting to fail
Hoping we'll roundup a honey tonight)

We go to the same old corral
Looking for a honky-tonk gal
Trying to cut one from the herd
Ov'r music try'n to be heard

Might rope us a honey tonight


We show up night after night
Keeping the prize in our sight
Looking at the same old stock
Always watching that old clock
(A better line would be "While sipping our water and scotch")

Might lasso some honey tonight


We'll make the same circle (rounds)
And saddle up to a table (Checking the place like smart bloodhounds)
Go for the eight second ride(Want to find a gal that's cool)
Take all the bruises in stride (Without acting like a fool)

Fall off (Might win us) a honey tonight



This song has potential but it's too long with too many verses. The writer needs to get to the heart of the

She met him when they were young
(And) fell in love at first sight
They had to be together
Not caring what was wrong or right

(this verse doesn't add to the story)
The day came when they were married
Promised until death they would depart
Would try to raise a family
Not knowing where they would start
(Instead give info that leads to the chorus like this.
(They married and had a son
Theirs was a loving familyhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
But at eighteen he left home
To join the Army's infantry

She sees drops of water falling
Running down the window glass
When she sees the car he's in
As his car begins to pass
Drops not of falling rain
But tears she can't restrain
(This chorus left me confused. Where was she when she saw his car pass? In another car? I'm guessing this was a funeral procession but it's not clear. Give us details and let the listeners feel her pain.

(These next two verses aren't needed at all. They add nothing to the story)
Days turned to months and months into years
Times had changed but their loving still remained
Each day they grew together
Through problems where love was strained

They had a child though separate by time of war
They did the bet that they could do
To raise their child in a house of love
They were there for him through the years he grew


The day fell upon them when their son would leave
Their son went to fight a war
A war where he would not return
They needed one another even more that they did before
(This verse is too wordy and not conversational. This is better
So their son went to fight a war (or in Iraq)
But he would not come back
He would get the purple heart
For bravery under attack)

(You don't need this next verse. End the song with the chorus)
Life had blessed them with other children to love
The others never replaced their son
But they loved them as they did
They were still a family, even minus one

(I chose this song only because of the story and it's potential. But this writer need to write more conversationally and with better imagery. Meters need to match and if she or he wants to improve, join a songwriting organization, go to seminars and read a book on lyric writing)


(Thousands of songs have been written on this same subject. To make a song stand out, you have to put a new spin on it. This song is pretty generic. I will critique as I type the song)

There is a reason (On that spring day) I met you
You brought a smile instantly(leave out instantly) to my face
I fell in love with you so quickly
I knew everything was going to be okay
(I knew this love would not erase)
(Where are the rhymes?)

You said you'd take care of me (care for me) forever
With all the love in your heart
I believed in you so much, baby
(And I believed you spoke the truth)
So I thought we'd never part (Pretty cliche)

Time will only tell, baby
If we have another chance
Time will only tell
If God changes the circumstances
Time will only tell
If you'll call me your baby...

My heart hurts now more than ever
My eyes burn up with tears
I thought we would be together
For the rest of all our years

(Don't need this next verse)
Being apart is so hard
But I will try to be strong
I want more than anything
To be held again in your arms


For now I hold on to hope
That we will be alright
And our paths will cross again
And we'll dance into the night


For now I'll hold on to hope
And we'll dance into the night


This could be a really cute song but it is much too long and wordy. Keep your sentences shorter in the verses and get to a clever chorus. The chorus could be better such as:
Our emotions ran the course
We paid the price of divorce
I got the bills, she got the rest
I paid the lawyers with what was left-

Monday, January 19, 2009

Summer 2008 Lyric Contest Winners

1. The Last Line by Mike Parrish, LaGrange, GA
2. Handy Heart by Kenna Zishka, Austin, Tx
3. Cheer On Our Country's Behalf by Genell Kelso
HM Strut My Country by Agnes "Gretta" Buntain, Cecilia, KY


THE LAST LINE by Mike Parrish
I will critique as I type the lyrics

Dad said it had been months (Dad forgot how long) but I knew it'd been years (it was a year)
Since he found his new wife and left mom and me here
And he seemed so (leave out so) surprised that I'd gotten so tall
As he read (the) heights he'd marked with some(leave out some) lines on the wall

So he drew a new line with the date and my name
Above the older ones that are all spaced the same
The new mark made it clear there was a hole in time
With too many inches since he drew the last line

There have been too many inches
Since he drew the last line
Like rungs that are missing
On this ladder in time
And there on the wall
It's not hard to find
There have been too many inches
Since he drew the last line

And now he is asking to be back in my life
Mom thinks that I should but it's for me to decide
And I can forgive him, to forgive is divine
But I'm going to wait till I see some more lines
And now he's saying he wants to keep in touch
That he misses me and loves me so much
Can I forgive him...the decision is mine
But I'm going to wait 'till I see some more lines


At two foot three, I rode on his feet
At two foot eight, played hide and seek
At three foot two, I learned to play ball
At three foot nine, no more lines on the wall


There have been too many inches
Since he drew the last line

This is a very original song but I wonder if it has to be a child that sings it. Maybe it can be changed into a memory of what he remembers in his relationship with his dad but it is a well written song.


HANDY HEART by Kenna Zishka

This has a catchy title and a good message.

My grandfather was a good with tools
He could fix most anything
A bicycle, an old pair of skates
Anything I (folks) would bring him(leave off him and rhyme anything with bring)
Yet he would always tell me

It's best to have a handy heart
One that can see
Others in difficulty(not very singable)
One that can forgive
Always to live
In the joy of today
He would always say
It's best to have a handy heart
It's best to have a handy heart
Reach out your hand
To help the needy
Learn to forgive
Never become greedy
He would always say
Fix each problem that comes your way
It's best to have a handy heart

My grandfather was good with cars (engines)
He could tune up any kind of engine (car)
A sports car (an old clunker), a pickup truck
Another old clunker running again (Even a classic Jaguar)
Yet he would tell me


Over the years
I saw his skill so tender (I witnessed his skills)
And when I think of him (But his kind heart)
I will always remember (Remains with me still)


Good visuals in the verses. The Chorus should play up how his grandfather helped fix peoples lives. Don't be general, be specific. Good luck with it.



If ever we needed a laugh
If ever we needed a smile
If we ever needed cheer on our country's behalf
It's now...we can't wait awhile (while our country's on trial) I like this line better

When times are tough
We each feel the weights of the world growing bigger and heavier on every shoulder (pretty long line)
When times are tough
Though we thought we were still in pretty good shape, we're now feeling much tireder and older(lines need to be shortened and excess words cut out. Is there such a word as "tireder"?)
Can't take steady diets of news that keeps going from BAD to WORSE to WORSE (cut last worse out)
We need at least some happy stuff to be able to cope with "Who's on First"

We may be part of the problem, but now can be part of the solution, unblinking
(We can be part of the solution and soon the problem will be shrinking)
So now (it's the time) is the time for positive values and all of (leave" all of "out) our creative thinking
We know we'll need wisdom: We don't want more gunnery; don't want to hide in a nunnery
(We can all volunteer and become active players)
Now is the time for all good thoughts to come to the aid of our country
(Help out the needy, become better neighbors)

Worry and stress can limit your mind
A cheerful brain's likelier answers to find(hard to say much less sing)
(So a cheerful heart is a good sign)


Our country, cheer for thee...cheer


STRUT MY COUNTRY by Gretta Buntain
It's got 9 great verses but no chorus.It could be a cute song if he or she cut out about 4 verses and added a chorus. Right now it's just a poem.