Country music winners announced in International Songwriting Competition

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The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has announced its 2014 winners selected from over 18,000 entries. Country artists and songwriters Bonnie Pine, Dean Dillon (pictured), and Casey Beathard have earned a First Place; The Morrison Brothers have taken Second Place; and Nikki Boon and Ryan Nelson of the band Haven Drive have garnered Third Place wins in the Country category. Judges included Sara Evans, Craig Morgan, Bryan Stewart (VP of A&R, Curb Records), and more. “The Country category is consistently one of the most competitive and popular categories in ISC,” says ISC Founder and Director, Candace Avery. “The Country music winners embody the level of musical skill that ISC is looking for, and we are so pleased to be able to honour them for their remarkable songwriting talent.” The overall Grand Prize is awarded to Australian singer/songwriter Vance Joy for his song Riptide. This marks the first time in the 14-year history of the competition that any song has received perfect scores from every judge. The song is being called an instant classic by both critics and fans alike, not only in the USA but also across the world. Joy’s career is clearly on the rise, with sold-out tours, worldwide chart success, and critical acclaim. Joy will be embarking soon on a seven-month tour as the support act for pop superstar Taylor Swift. Created in 2002, ISC awards more than $150,000 in cash and prizes to winners of the competition. Winners range from amateur songwriters who are just starting their careers to professional songwriters who have years worth of experience. The Grand Prize winner is awarded $25,000 in cash, in addition to more than $45,000 in merchandise and services. Previous ISC winners include Bastille, Passenger, Kate Miller-Heidke, Lindsey Stirling, Gotye, The Band Perry, Kasey Chambers, Gin Wigmore, King Charles, Kimbra, Gregory Porter, Omar Sosa, For King & Country, and many more. The complete list of judges includes recording artists: American Authors; Sarah McLachlan; Pat Metheny; Sara Evans; Bastille; Casting Crowns; Avicii; Wayne Shorter; Keane; Robben Ford; Danilo Perez; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Natasha Bedingfield; Newsboys; Afro Celt Sound System; London Grammar; Craig Morgan; Gerald Casale (Devo); Jean-Luc Ponty; James Cotton; Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes); Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Chayanne; and Bela Fleck. First Place Stuck – Bonnie Pine, Dean Dillon, Casey Beathard – Dallas, TX, USA and Nashville, TN, USA Bonnie Pine grew up in a big, musical family on a dairy farm in Minnesota until her daddy died when she was eight years old. Her family then moved to the city, and she took up playing the classical violin for many years. She didn’t start writing lyrics until she was 31 years old. Pine says, “The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me was the day I received a reply email from the legendary Dean Dillon regarding the rough draft lyric I had sent him for the winning song “Stuck.” I just about ran off the road when reading that he said he loved the idea, hook, and parts of the lyric! Then Dillon asked another one of my favorite writers, the great Casey Beathard, to write on the song also. It was all like a dream!” Co-writer Dean Dillon is an award-winning singer and songwriter and is one of country music’s most prolific writers (including having written more than 50 songs for George Strait). Having been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, he has had countless songs chart on Billboard and has also written songs for artists such as Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, and many more. Co-writer Casey Beathard is also an award-winning singer and songwriter, having co-written singles for several country music recording artists, including Top Ten singles for Gary Allan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Trace Adkins, and Kenny Chesney. In 2004 and 2008, he received BMI’s Songwriter of the Year award. Second Place Little Miss Whiskey – The Morrison Brothers Band – Nashville, TN, USA Second Place in the Country category is awarded to the Morrison Brothers Band. Founded in 2007 by brothers Truman and Willie Morrison, the group’s award-winning sound took form in their hometown of Washington, DC with the additions of brothers Matt and Kevin Nolan. The band is currently based out of Nashville, and in the last few years, they have opened for or shared stages with Merle Haggard, Leon Russell, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Tim McGraw and more. In 2014, the band also won First Place in the country category in the Unsigned Only Music Competition for the same song, “Little Miss Whiskey.” Third Place Hopeful Heart – Nikki Boon, Ryan Nelson (Haven Drive) – Grand Rapids, MI, USA Both Nikki Boon and Ryan Nelson are Grand Rapids, MI natives who reunited in Nashville, TN. They began writing together as a side project but quickly realized it would turn into something bigger. Guided by producer Jeff Braun, they released their debut EP in February, 2015; the songs are filled with crafty lyrics, anthemic hooks and captivating performances. They have had the opportunity to open for Jarrod Niemann, Love and Theft and Lee Brice, among many others. In addition to these winners, 14 other deserving Country songs garnered Honorable Mentions within the category: 29 Angels – Adam Avery, Michael Lee Collins – Burlington, VT, USA Give Her The World – Adam Eckersley, Jason Reeves, Danelle Leverett (Adam Eckersley Band) – Mannering Park, NSW, Australia Dance – Ben Glover, Amy Lewis, Ali Raney, Zoe Neuman, Mitch Merrett (The Lovelocks) – Toronto, ON, Canada Twenty Once (Too) – Billy Dawson, Rivers Rutherford , Glenn Rutherford – Sunray, TX, USA Wings – Brad Cunningham (Man In The Ring) – Columbia, MO, USA Lonely With Me – Brandon Chase, David Lee, Tony Lane – Brentwood, TN, USA Someday – Codie Prevost, Adam Wheeler – Archerwill, SK, Canada If You Can’t Be Mine – Jessica Clemmons, Victoria Banks, Jeff Cohen – Highlands, TX, USA Country Girl Swag – Kyle Lowrey, Jake Lowrey (2 Steps Back) – Lenapah, OK, USA This Side Of The Dirt – Mary Haller, Lee Johnson – Acton, MA, USA Friday Nights – Morgan Dorr, John Keefe (Best OF Friends), Josh Weaver – Boston, MA, USA It’s For Real This Time – Raquel Cole, Jordyn Mallory, Erik Halbig – Vernon, BC, Canada Be Mine – Shane Butler – Dublin, Ireland Hangman – Sons of Daughters – Vancouver, BC, Canada

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