John Hartford Songwriting Contest 2014

We are tickled to announce that our 2014 John Hartford Memorial Festival Songwriting Contest Showcase was a very cool, laid back event, attended by hundreds of enthusiastic folks! Our top three songwriters performed their winning songs while standing on the very board that John Hartford amplified and danced upon. 

Thanks to all of you wonderful songwriters who entered your John Hartford inspired songs.

L-Tom Poley Tucson AZ 3rd place
C-Jeff Daugherty Cheyenne WY 1st place
R-Wes Duffey Peoria IL 2nd place

Our showcase also consisted of performances by

4th- Jeremy Francis “Thinking About John Hartford”

5th-Will Kimble- “Sternwheeler Blues”

6th-Jaybone Bell- “Ode to the River Man”

7th- Korah Winn- “Choice He Had”


Jeff Daugherty was raised in the rural farming community of Richlands, in Southeastern North Carolina, by a bluegrass rich family. He picked up the guitar at an early age and then banjo at 18 years and played in his uncle's long-standing bluegrass/gospel group. When Jeff married, his wife's career led them from coast to coast, settling in Cheyenne, Wyoming for over five years.
  During his time in Cheyenne, Jeff, vocals and mandolin, formed and led the high-energy bluegrass quartet BeatGrass to regional success around the Rocky Mountains. Going in to what was shaping up to be their biggest year, the band's banjo player, "Uncle Pete" Mergard, suddenly passed away from a massive heart attack. The passing of Pete, who had become Jeff's best friend and a father figure, took a great toll on his emotions, leading Jeff to completely stray away from music for months.
  “The first music I reached for, when the time came, was my John Hartford albums.” Jeff told us. Listening to them in chronological order, in somewhat of a meditative state, Jeff stopped the turntable while listening to "Morning Bugle" and had to write down what was running through his head. The culmination of those words became a song filled with eight John Hartford song titles, a few quotes from liner-notes, and loaded with honest feelings. The song, “Dear John”,  was entered in the 2014 John Hartford Songwriting Competition, and won 1st place. Jeff says,  “After performing the song at the 2014 JHMF I was offered numerous solo-gig opportunities, which was a first for me.”
  Jeff says “Winning the 2014 John Hartford Songwriting Competition gave my new solo career a much needed boost, not to mention adding a legitimacy to my work of as songwriter. It opened doors to opportunities almost instantly, and definitely opened more ears to me and my music. I will forever be grateful and hold that award very dear to my heart.”
  In November 2014, Jeff and his wife, Sydney, left Cheyenne and settled in Waldfischbach-Burgalben, Germany! Jeff is optimistic and diligent in honing his craft, studying, practicing, writing and recording.
You can follow Jeff's music developments and contact him at:

Jeff Daugherty performing "Dear John" at the 2014 Songwriter's Showcase, Main Stage. Video courtesy of My Tall Tripod

1st thru 7th place winners - 2014 JHMF Songwriting Contest

And the rest of 2014 Song Contest entries in alphabetical order of writer