2023 winners of Walnut Valley NewSong Showcase

The 51st Walnut Valley Festival, going on now in Winfield, KS, has announced the winners of their NewSong Showcase, with both top prizes and alternates named in 10 separate song categories.

In addition to hosting a large music festival that celebrates bluegrass, old time, and Americana sounds, the festival also has a sterling reputation for hosting instrumental competitions for autoharp, flatpicking guitar, finger style guitar, mandolin, old time fiddle, dulcimer, and banjo. With a meager $20 application fee, contestants vie at the festival for valuable prizes including new, professional grade instruments made by top builders.

Categories in which songwriters can enter their songs include Songs about Winfield, Children, Religion/Spirit, Feelin’ Blue, Instrumental, Sweet Memories, Love Songs, Better World, Humor, and None of the Above. First prize winners and two alternates are awarded the opportunity to perform their songs during the festival, as they are chosen prior to the start of the five day event.

Our own Chris Jones, who is, of course, also a celebrated singer and songwriter, curates the NewSong Showcase, along with a panel of reviewers, who choose the top songs in each category.

He says that this year’s competition was daunting.

“We had a near record-breaking number of song submissions this year, 296 entries, and the quality was exceptional. While our judges and I devote a considerable amount of time to this, it really is a labor of love, and I appreciate the chance to curate NewSong Showcase on behalf of Walnut Valley Festival. I am grateful to the outstanding judges who lend their ears and their hearts to the difficult task of determining winners, and provide valuable feedback to these songwriters.”

And the winners are:

Songs about Winfield


  • Walnut Valley Festival – Neta Jane Doris, Jay Lankford, Glen Robertson
  • That Stage at Winfield – Jeff Daugherty 


  • We’re Winfield Friends – David Parker 
  • Winfield – Heath Rochester 

Songs For a Better World


  • Name On a List – Siena Christie 
  • Happy Anyway – Heath Rochester


  •  One Day Sober – Dave Sommers 
  • The Boat – Aaron Fowler

Sweet Memories


  • Choctaw Road – John Hutchison
  • Love Don’t Live Here No More – Jeff Daugherty


  • Siblings – Ann Wright 
  • I Hope You Love This Song – Heath Rochester



  • Same Old Sinner – Fred Baue 
  • Combiners Prayer – Marilyn Rogers


  • Pick Up Your Cross – Jeff Daugherty, Mo Pitney 
  • God Knows – Krishna Feeney 

Suitable For Children


  • I Spy – Aaron Fowler 
  • Little Zebra – Aaron Gordon


  • Who Am I – Mark Heinrich
  • Jumping Rope – David Hakan

Humorous Songs


  • How Hot’s Your Hot? – Marilyn Rogers 
  • If You Ever Saw Louis Blue – Ellis Ralph


  • Keep Your Shoes On Babe – Jack Bowden
  • Google My Disease – Daniel Elixir 



  • The Brown-Eyed Yorkshireman – Gary Mortensen 
  • Augie’s Lullaby – Ralph Wesley Carr 


  • Camano – Lance Anderson 
  • Roaring Brook – Stan Sullivan 

Love Songs


  • Shooting Star – Ernie Welch 
  • Old Potato – Sally Vee


  • Ten Miles Long, Five Miles Wide – Jimmy DeHeno
  • Tennessee Nights – Jeff Daugherty

Feelin’ Blue


  • Little One – Bud Bierhaus 
  • A Change is Coming On – Warren Jurgens


  • If I Had Known – Deann Kinsch  
  • Cowgirl – Jolleen Thorpe, Joe McElroy

None of The Above


  • Switchboard Operator – Annie Wilson
  • A Little Longer – Kenny Cornell


  • Dyin’ to Live – Jim Herrmann
  • The Kitchen Band Song – Fred Baue

Congratulations and well done all!

Full details about the 2023 Walnut Valley Festival, and its associated instrument competitions, can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.