Friends, it is an honor to be asked to give an opinion of the works of other songwriters. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the Texas Country Music Association’s 2017 Songwriter Contest in this way. Each of these writers is a gifted individual. Make no mistake: These are my peers. We are cut from the same cloth in many ways. Songwriter friends, please know that ANY judge’s opinion of your work is ONLY an opinion. The infinite number of reasons a listener does or does NOT *like* your song better than another, will never include that one of you is just not a good songwriter. These decisions are all subject to the criteria set forth, not only by the entity holding the contest, but by the individual judge’s particular taste in music above all else. What I love, someone else hates. What I can’t stand, someone else adores. These differences bring us a spectrum of music in which everyone may be included and find a home. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for sharing your gift, and thank you for listening.