Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival Offers Unique One-On-One Time with Nashville’s Top Songwriters

Workshops, Mentoring, Critiques, Performances Part of Five-Day Event in Gatlinburg

Songwriters of all ability levels are invited to soak in wisdom and expertise from some of the industry’s top songwriters when the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival comes to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, August 19-23. A series of workshops, including songwriting sessions with successful songwriters, critiques and tips on navigating the Nashville music industry are scheduled for the five-day annual event that also features performances by the writers of music’s most memorable songs.


Writers of top radio hits, including Kim Williams (Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses”), Bobby Tomberlin (Diamond Rio’s “One More Day”), Max T. Barnes (Collin Raye’s “Love, Me”), Larry Beaird (Academy of Country Music nominated musician and top producer), Larry Cordle (George Strait and Alan Jackson’s “Murder on Music Row”), Tim Stafford (Grammy Award winning songwriter), Jeff Silvey (George Strait’s “Oh What a Perfect Day”), Larry Shell (“Murder on Music Row”), and others, will be participating in the sessions. The sessions also will feature industry executives, including John Butler, vice president of Promotions at Curb Records, Benjy Gaither, son of Bill and Gloria Gaither and owner of Live Bait Productions, and Bill Whyte, Hall of Fame Radio Broadcaster member, and Marc Alan Barnette, music industry mentor.


Workshop topics include: Comedy Songwriting: How “Funny” Opens Doors; Radio and Songwriting; Writing Gospel Songs and the Importance of the Hang; Navigating Nashville as a Songwriter; Hits in the Air: A Modern Look at the Role of Radio in Your Career; How to Write Better Songs and Get Them Cut; Bluegrass Songwriting 101; and Arranging the Hit 2015.

Author Lynn Gray will be signing copies of her new book, “I Guess You Had To Be There,” at the festival.

In addition to the workshops, participants will have the opportunity to co-write with Nashville’s top songwriters. The SMSWF Rocky Top Co-writing Experience with Hit Writers at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn event kicks off the festival on August 19.

Author Lynn Gray will be signing copies of her new book at the festival.


Country music industry veteranLynn Woodruff Gray will be on hand at the event signing copies of her newly-released book, “I Guess You Had To Be There.”The book recounts Gray’s career as a songwriter, radio personality and in the inner circle with Hank Snow and other country music icons.


Once a year, set in the scenic East Tennessee mountains, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival features songwriters performing and telling the stories behind music’s most beloved and popular songs for five days of free live music. The public is invited to the 4th annual event, which will be held in various venues.
A performance by Stella Parton kicks off the event August 20, which welcomes newcomers Leslie Satcher (George Strait’s “Troubadour”), Scott Reeves (Toby Keith’s “Made In America”), Mark Narmore (Craig Morgan’s “This is What I Love About Sunday”), Benjy Gaither (“Love Can Turn The World Around” by the Gaither Vocal Band), and Jeff Silvey (George Strait’s “Oh What a Perfect Day”) to the lineup of more than 150 songwriters.


Carrie Tillis, daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis, returns to the event this year, along with Steve Dorff (George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart”), who currently lives in Burbank, California, where he writes music for television and films. Other hit songwriters include Jerry Salley (Sir Elton John’s “When We Both Say Goodbye”), Max T. Barnes (Collin Raye’s “Love Me”), Chris Wallin (Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink”), Bobby Tomberlin (Diamond Rio’s “One More Day”), and more.


EmiSunshine, who returns to the event for the third year, will be in concert Friday, August 21. For tickets, go to EmiSunshine
To register for any of the songwriters event or for more information, visit For a complete list of performers and show times, or like on Facebook at



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