NRS Series 1 Semi-Final Round

We had an incredible Semi-Final round of Nashville Rising Song Series 1! 21 songwriters, who were our weekly prelim round winners came back to see who would make the final 4. We heard many excellent songs and it was a tough job for our judges! They rated each song from 1-100 based on the commercial potential of the song. Only 5 rate points separated the top 3 rated songs, and we had a 3 way tie for the 3rd judges pick! We went back to our judges and they selected the best song of the 3 that were tied and that songwriter moved on! We had a great crowd at Tin Roof!

We were not able to live stream the event due to severe storms knocking out the outbound internet at the venue, but we did record the event and have the video posted over on our Facebook Page at:

Since we could not live stream, we have left voting open from 10PM CT March 19 until 8PM CT March 21. We announced our audience winner after voting closed.

Music Industry Judges Winners of Nashville Rising Song Series 1 Semi-Final round. From left to right, Mike Castronovo (music industry judge), Matt Lindsey (music industry judge) Auborn McCormick (music industry judge winner), Sandy Ramos (music industry judge), Sher Ross (music industry judge), Landon Wall (music industry judge winner), Darrell Rae (music industry judge winner), Keith Mohr (NRS creator/director), David Browning (music industry judge)

Semi-Final Order:

Round 1
1- Brody Ray Runge
2- Sarah Fortsch
3- Buck Westmoreland

Round 2
4- John Thompson
5- Lauren Anderson
6- Justin Bryan

Round 3
7- Jerr Grunn
8- Greg Rider
9- Joe Hanson

Round 4
10- Daniel Neihoff
11- Auburn McCormick
12- Andrew Smith

Round 5
13- Robert Carter
14- JoyBeth Taylor
15- Darrell Rae

Round 6
16- Stevie Rae Stephens
17- Dusty Alexander
18- Landon Wall

Round 7
19- Adam Scott
20- Brittany Fields & Sean Pauley
21- Justin Love

#11- Auburn McCormick- Black and White Movie
#18- Landon Wall- Birth of A Song
#15- Darrell Rae- My Bar

#20- Brittany Fields & Sean Pauley

Our winners will move on to the final round being held Monday, March 26, 2018 at 8PM CT at Tin Roof on Music Row. Watch the event live at and help us pick the first grand prize winner of Nashville Rising Song!

Music Industry Judges:

Sandi Ramos
Sandi is “The Song Tuner,” a service for songwriters that provides pitch services through her “Pitch to Pro Pipeline”, song evaluations, and more!

Sandi’s original songs have been cut on over 25 millions CDs sold, with hits “Let Er Rip” for The Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Neal McCoy, Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray, and Lee Greenwood, including the Billboard Top 10 single “We’ve Got it Made.”

Another single “I Brake for Brunettes” by Rhett Akins, was a #1 Dance Club hit as well as reaching #15 on the Billboard Country Charts.

Matt Lindsey
Independent Music Publishing Company And Independent Songplugging/Consulting service/Music Production and A&R. Matt Lindsey Music LLC, first writer signed to company was Tony Arata (The Dance).

Company also represents Independent Song Plugging for Clients; Allen Reynolds (NSAI Hall of Fame), Bill Anderson (NSAI Hall of Fame), Rory Bourke (NSAI Hall of Fame), Mike Reid ( I Can’t Make You Love Me, NSAI Hall of Fame), John Wiggins and Jay Knowles (current David Nail single “Kiss You Tonight”

As a songplugger he pitched songs recorded by Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Collin Raye, Brooks and Dunn, Tracy Byrd, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Clay Walker, Rod Stewart, David Lee Roth, Tanya Tucker, George Jones, Don Williams, Martina Mcbride, Suzy Bogguss, Mark Chestnutt, Confederate Railroad, Ty England, Emmylou Harris, Wade Hayes, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hal Ketchum, Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Wynonna, Lee Roy Parnell, Alabama, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, Chris LeDoux, Delbert McClinton, Gary Allan, Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams Jr., Keith Stegall, Ricky Skaggs, Eddy Raven, Oak Ridge Boys, Mel McDaniel, Jennifer Warnes, John Anderson, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Joe Diffie, and many more…

Writers he has worked with over the years included: Tony Arata, Bill Anderson, Jay Knowles, Rory Bourke, Mike Reid, Pete Wasner, Shawn Camp, Pat Alger, Tim O’Brien, Allen Reynolds, Mel Tillis, Andrew Gold, Herb McCullough, Randy Goodrum, Steve Wariner, Buddy Cannon, Iris Dement, Bob Corbin, Dave Hanner, Steve Davis, Tommy Collins, Pam Tillis, Frank Myers, Danny Dill, Pamela Brown Hayes, Lee Roy Parnell, Cindy Walker, Ray Sawyer, and Mel Tillis Jr.

Recent singles & cuts include #1 “Who Are You When I’m Not Lookin’” by Blake Shelton, Josh Turner single “I Wouldn’t Be A Man”. Top 40 hit “It Ain’t The Whiskey” by Gary Allan, Kenny Chesney “Always Gonna Be You” (Welcome To The Fishbowl), Alan Jackson, Joe Nichols, and Randy Travis.

Co-produced with Mark Miller (producer for Garth Brooks) an album on Tony Arata “Way Back When” featuring guest Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Lee Roy Parnell.
Co-produced with Tony Arata “Such Is Life” featuring hits Tony wrote for Garth Brooks, Patty Loveless, and Emmylou Harris.

As a songwriter his songs have been recorded by Gene Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Diffie, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Perfect Stranger, Larry Sparks, Moe Bandy, Pam TIllis, and more…

Sher Ross
Sher Ross is the creative force behind the newest music artist management and artist development company in Nashville, “Last Train Home Nashville”. Born in Hollywood and raised around music, Sher has always had a knack for discovering and working with amazing talent.

Sher worked for Softdrive Records in Los Angeles where she was an A&R rep. The label was owned by the late Scott Weiland. (Stone Temple Pilots lead singer)

Sher loves to guide in the development of the careers of musicians from every stage. Her biggest joy is watching an artist realize their potential and she prides herself on helping them reach that point in their career.

She is currently working with artists from “The Voice,” as well as rising stars.

David Browning
With a professional music career spanning more than two decades, producer/programmer/songwriter David Browning has had an incredibly diverse career, working with everyone from Katy Perry to Billy Graham, and in genres from pop to classical.

Starting his professional career as a touring keyboardist, David traveled with many of Christian music’s top artists, including Avalon, Natalie Grant, Greg Long, Michael English, Billy Graham Ministries, Tony Vincent, Al Denson, Joel Osteen Ministries, Lisa Bevill and Beyond The Blue.

Progressing further as a songwriter and producer, David worked with many renowned artists, including the infamous “Christian years” with Katy Perry, Amy Grant, Ce Ce Winans, and Jump 5, as well as broadcast production work for NFLʼs Monday Night Football and Pro Bowl, ESPN and others.

David has also worked remotely with talented greats such as Neal Schon (Journey), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Dez Dickerson (Prince), soul diva Linda Clifford and country artist Paul Brandt, and side-by-side with songwriting and production moguls Diane Warren, John Bettis, Dennis Matkosky, Keith Thomas, Peter Zizzo, Ric Wake, Brett James, Martin Briley and James Slater.

In 2005, David co-produced the #1 Inspirational hit song “Adore You” for Andy Chrisman (4Him), as well as radio hits by Canadian artist Janelle, which landed both Juno and Western Canadian Music Award nominations for Album of the Year. David has continued to be a part of international radio hits throughout the world for artists such as Canadian boy-band Hollywood Heroes, Korean pop artist Gummy, Brett Loewenstern from American Idol fame and Netherlands rockers HeavyLight, as well as his latest “pet project,” Strong Suit Syndicate.

Currently, David is working with many different artists and genres, including melodic rock group Mecca, Chris Lockwood (33 Miles), Michael Ripoll of Babyface fame, film actress Katherine Hughes, new prog rock group Distorted Priorities (Rod Morgenstein, Dave LaRue, others), hit songwriter Brett Warren, Gospel artists Reco Hight and Jah-way, and developing female pop artist Gabby Orr.

Based out of Nashville, TN, David continues to work with artists all around the world, with a heart for artist development and realizing musical dreams.

David is currently the Chief Creative Officer and head of A&R for Crowd Music.

Mike Castronovo
Mike is the founder and CEO of Crowd Music and comes to Music City by way of Chicago, where he was a successful mortgage banker.

In 2014 Mike read an article in the Wall Street Journal that opened his eyes to a massive problem.

He learned the current music industry wasn’t fairly compensating those who actually create the music we enjoy, which ultimately hurts all of us as music listeners and fans in the long run.

The more he dove in to trying to understand the problem, the more he was amazed that nobody had come up with a viable solution that would work for everyone.

And that birthed Crowd Music. Crowd Music pays Music Creators FAR MORE than any other platform for the songs they release exclusively through Crowd, and gives them more powerful exposure from a new fanbase that is financially incentivized to tell others about them. Crowd Music is the future of Music!