Dan Curry performs his contest-winning song, "Love," at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace (formerly The Heartwood) in Abingdon.

ABINGDON, Va. — Dan Curry, a singer/songwriter from Lebanon, Virginia, has been named the overall winner in the 2019 Richard Leigh Songwriters Contest at Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon, according to a news release. Curry’s winning song, “Love,” also took first place in the gospel category.

Curry received $400 in prize money ($100 as a category winner and $300 as the overall winner) and has been invited to record his winning song at The Earnest Tube in Bristol, Virginia. Additionally, Curry received membership/benefits in the Nashville Songwriters Association International ($225 value), the Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association and the Virginia Highlands Songwriters Association.

The annual contest drew 108 song entries. Curry’s song was awarded top honors by a team of judges that included recording artists, radio station managers, studio owners, musicians, songwriters and music educators — as well as members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The songwriters festival is named for Richard Leigh, a Grammy award-winning songwriter who is a 1973 graduate of VHCC. Leigh returns to campus each year with fellow members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame to raise money for the Great Expectations Program for foster youth enrolled at VHCC.

Winners were also announced in seven individual music categories. The winning songwriters are:


  • First: Bella Raye, “Old Me”
  • Second: Scott Miller, “She Shouldn’t Have To”
  • Third: Reed Fields, “I Don’t Lie to You”


  • First: Adam Bolt, “Animals in the News”
  • Second: Greg Trafidlo, “For Just Two Dollars (You Can Cuss Me Out)”
  • Third: Celie Holmes, “Sorry Now”


  • First: Dan Curry, “Love”
  • Second: Shannan Miller, “My Banner and Peace”
  • Third: Kevin Hale, “We All Die to Live Again”


  • First: Sydney Rose Wray, “Broken Wing”


  • First: Mike DeGiorgi, “I’d Love to Have Dinner with You”
  • Second: Bent-Lee Carr, “Outta Style”
  • Third: Ashley Lucas, “Say It”


  • First: Adam Bolt, “Mouth of Wilson”
  • Second: Kevin Hale, “I’m in Lonesome Valley”
  • Third: Barnette Carr, “The Story of Me and You”

Lyrics Only

  • First: George T. Kiser Jr., “Train 52”
  • Second: Aaron McGlothlin, “Country Divas a-Gittin’ Down”
  • Third: Victoria Barber, “Kentucky Whiskey”

The songwriting contest is part of the two-day celebration of song held Memorial Day weekend and highlighted by a Saturday evening performance by visiting members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

This year’s performers were Leigh, Tony Arata, Even Stevens and Jim McBride. Collectively, they have enjoyed more than 50 chart-topping number one hits.

For additional information, go to

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