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November 16th, 2023

Judges Announced for 22nd Annual NewSong Music Competition

Join us in welcoming this year’s panel of judges, all music industry professionals. We appreciate their insight and expertise in selecting a Grand Prize Winner, who will receive a six-song EP, recorded and mixed at Citizen Studios, with vinyl records pressed at Citizen Vinyl.

Garret K. Woodward has been the arts/music editor for The Smoky Mountain News, an alt-weekly covering Western North Carolina, since 2012. He’s also the music editor for Smoky Mountain Living magazine, a national publication whose jurisdiction rolls across seven states in Southern Appalachia.

In 2018, Woodward joined Rolling Stone as a contributing writer, focusing

mainly on music festivals from coast-to-coast. As an author, Woodward penned the 2017 book If You Can’t Play, Get Off the Stage: Bluegrass in Western North Carolina and Beyond. To date, Woodward has been nominated three times for “Writer of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Otto Vazquez is the Artistic Curator for LEAF Global Arts, working to book bands and create themes for the organization’s signature events, including the annual LEAF Global Arts Festival. He is also a prolific street dancer, choreographer, published author and poet, filmmaker and grand educator who has taught at more than 100 universities both in the United States and abroad.

Jamie Beck is the Sales Director at Merge Records in Durham, N.C. Her first concert was a performance by Kitty Wells on a cattle farm outside of Kansas City, Missouri.

Gar Ragland is a producer, musician, and president and co-founder of the NewSong Music Group. He is also the founder of CEO of Citizen Vinyl in Asheville, N.C. Gar is a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammys).

Martin Anderson, Music Director and Host at WNCW, will emcee the evening. Martin joined WNCW in 2001 as the weekday morning host. He loves interviewing the many talented musicians who come to Studio B, stretching out with the many styles ‘NCW embraces, and reflecting listener requests, events of the day, and the beautiful Southern Appalachian landscape. As Music Director, he books live sessions, and keeps in touch with the record labels and promoters that send new music.