Hunter and Suzy Owens Contest Finalists at Merlfest

by | 4 Apr, 2015

Hunter & Suzy Owens

Merlfest The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is held each year as part of the Merlefest Americana Music Festival in Wilksbro North Carolina. This year The Chris Austin Songwriting judges have announced its list of finalists for 2015. Among the list is a couple from Australia whose music has been enjoyed by festival goers over the years. Hunter and Suzy Owens have been listed among the finalists in the Country Music Category with their song “It Would Be Easier”.

Hunter and Suzy entered the competition in an effort to take their songwriting to a wider audience and Merlefest which attracts upwards of 80,000 people over the four-day festival period.

We spoke to Hunter this week who said that the whole process has been straightforward and the communications with the Merlefest administrators excellent.

Hunter and Suzy entered several songs across a few different categories category.  “It Would Be Easier” was written a while ago, according to Hunter but it has always been a favourite of those who attend their concerts.

We will be performing our song live before a panel of three at Merlefest for the final judging and we understand that we will get to perform it again. Just being able to go to Merlefest is dream come true, but to be part of this competition makes it even better – Hunter Owens.

The Merlfest website lists the following as finalists for the 2015 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest:Hunter & Suzy Owens

Bluegrass Category

  • Donna Hughes (Trinity, N.C.) – “Blackbeard”
  • Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.) and Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.)– “Deer in the Headlights Look”
  • David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.), Mitch Matthews (Hamtramck, Mich.) and Dawn Kenney (Waltham, Mass.) – “Something About A Train”

Gospel/Inspirational Category

  • Robert Holthauser (Popular Springs, N.C.) and Rick Pardue (Popular Springs, N.C.) – “Brother Paul
  • Benjamin Lauckhaupt (West Harrison, Ind.) – “Oh, Lazarus”
  • Dave Herring (Charlottesville, Va.) – “Though I Walk”


  • Hunter and Suzy Owens (Sydney, Australia) – “It Would Be Easier”
  • Savannah Smith (Asheville, N.C.) – “Mississippi”
  • Carri Smithey (Burlington, N.C.), Josh Coe (Saxapahaw, N.C.), Ryan Burgess (Burlington, N.C.) and Keith Ingalls (Burlington, N.C.) – “No More.”


  • Kristen Grainger of True North Band (Salem, Ore.) – “Doris Dean”
  • Laura Kaufman (Boone, N.C.) – “Through the Grave”
  • Carter Sampson (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – “Wild Bird”

MerleFest offers songwriters the opportunity to have their original songs heard by a panel of professional songwriters and others from the Nashville music industry by participating in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest!

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest go to support the WCC Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the Chris Austin Scholarship has helped 75 students and awarded over $34,000.