the lights of paris

released in november 2017

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Rupert Wates' ninth solo album takes an unflinching look at the dangers, disillusionments and cruelties of today's world, in which the lights of Paris offer a symbol of love, beauty and hope. On this disc, Wates' signature sound is reduced to the essentials of his voice and distinctive fingerstyle guitar, with color added by virtuoso musicians Adrianna Mateo (violin) and Brian Sanders (cello) in string arrangements by Grammy-nominated John Guari. To capture the warmth and spontaneity of a live performance, the album was recorded live in the studio in just two days by master engineer Kevin Kelly. Wates adopts the voice of the timeless balladeer, to take us song by song on a journey through the shadows that threaten to engulf us, toward the faint but still flickering lights.


"What a voice!" 'Anyone who does not yet know the English-born and now American based artist with the velvety baritone has a real discovery in front of him...The songs...interweave thoughtfully melancholic lyrics artfully with catchy melodies' (Ulric Joosten, FOLKER Magazine, Germany

"A very high level" 'Fans of beautiful acoustic guitar should definitely check this out, as it is from a very high level, with Rupert providing excellent calm relaxing vocal work' (8 out of 10) (Strutterzine, Netherlands

4 Stars 'Poetic reflections on the times...steeped in the history of hope and struggle.  Richly romantic tenderness in an age when 'all we loved has gone to hell'. The lights of Paris are...a symbolic beacon that never goes out' (Andrew Darlington, R2 Rock and Reel Review

"Unsurpassed beauty"(*****5 Stars) '...Not only an important comment on the times in which we live, it is done with unsurpassed beauty' (Lakeside Music, Manhattan KS

"Fabulous poetry"(*****5 stars) '...Fabulous Poetry as Music Bringing Listener to Sublime' (Customer review, CD Baby

"Beautifully arranged folk" 'Fans of beautifully arranged folk will not balk at 'The Lights Of Paris' (Theo Volk, Music That Needs Attention

"A folk pearl"(**** 4 stars) '...Sparkling acoustic fingerpicking and warm expressive vocals...With perfectly balanced stories, Rupert Wates can effortlessly hold the attention...A folk pearl that...transcends the genre' (Cis Van Looy,

"All equally beautiful" 'My favorite song is 'My Face To The Morning' but...they are all equally beautiful' (Rootsville, album reports/reports/rupert wates.html)

"These lights shine bright" (Mike Davies, FATEA

"Catches you by the ankles...a completely unique style" (****4 stars) 'Wates' powerful acoustic guitar play catches you by the ankles, so that you do not lose attention for a moment...Wates maintains a completely unique style, which he knows how to use in new ways from album to album...He deserves more attention' (John Gjaltema, Alt Country NL

"Profound" 'Musically quite sober, the lyrics stimulate the listener to profound reflection...a very enjoyable work of art' (Valsam, Rootstime

"A disc of considerable expressive power" 'Wates has achieved a style that is genuinely authentic and rich in ideas...The compositional aspect is excellent, poetically relevant and with heartfelt passion and great soul.  'The Lights Of Paris' declares, by its title, a romanticism that is never cloying or sugar, and denotes instead a profound humanity...A disc of considerable expressive power' (Remo Ricaldone, The Long Journey

"Effortless and impressive" 'Like all good Folk releases should...a reflection of the ways in which we shape our world...A style that sounds effortless and impressive, while his clear vocal tone never clutters the arrangements' (Paul McGee, Lonesome Highway

"Classic folk" '...The state of the heart as caught in a crossfire.  The recording is spare...which allows moments of great beauty...The thing about this record is its sincerity. That fact sets the piece...apart.  Wates is unafraid to sing what he really means' (Steve Klingaman, Minor 7th

"Its charm never weakens" 'I am devilishly seduced by Wates' 9th album...Both fragile and immediate, its charm never weakens for an instant' (Sam Pierre, Le Cri Du Coyote)

"Fine Magic" (7.5 Stars out of 10) 'In brief songs he draws modern moral pictures...With careful listening the pieces release their fine magic. He...succeeds in capturing the spirit of the folk revival' (Walter Sehrer, Eclipsed-Rock, Germany

"A fabulous songwriter and poet" 'The 9th album from the immensely talented folk balladeer...The sparseness of the instrumentation directs the attention to the expressive voice of the singer/songwriter...Wates is...a fabulous songwriter and poet' (Max W Achatz, Country Juke Box Germany


Finalist, Kerrville New Folk Song Contest 2018 for 'The Day The Great Ship Went Down' and 'A Song Of Your Own

'Outstanding Songwriting Achievement' for 'The Day The Great Ship Went Down', Great American Song Contest 2017 (

'Finalist' for 'Oh The Times', Great American Song Contest 2017 (

CD of The Week, 12 30 2017, Midnight Special Chicago 98.7WFMT

colorado mornings

released in march 2016

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The eighth CD from singer-songwriter Rupert Wates is an album of acoustic love songs inspired by the beauty of Colorado. It depicts the journey of two lovers, as they travel like Wild West outlaws in search of new frontiers and freedoms. In keeping with the album's setting, its sound is pastoral, rootsy, folk-inflected. At the forefront is Wates' signature fluid fingerstyle guitar, and his distinctive vocals, at once gentle and intense. Backing him is the outstanding rhythm section that has appeared on his earlier CDs: Bartosz Hadala on keyboards, Trifon Dimitrov on bass, and Chris Howard on hand drums. Playing together with the interactive unity of old friends, these four musicians recorded all 12 songs live in the studio, with no overdubs, in just three days. Their interplay was masterfully captured by engineer Jeff Pelletier. The result is an album whose every element is organic from the roots up: a fitting tribute to the place and the people that inspired it. (Leo Green, BiteMusic Limited)


"Perfectly acheived"
'Wates has a beautiful tenor and sings true love songs...The music is perfectly achieved' Adolf Goriup, Folkworld

"This is quality"
'It is difficult to decide how to characterize Wates – his lyrical texts, his immaculate music (his control of the fingerpicking style is admirably perfect) or his throaty voice...With soft chimes, Wates takes his listeners into the wild beauty of his temporary adopted homeland Colorado, and with the fluent play of his fingers he tells stories, like his knowing description of seldom simple human love in the song “Lady Grey”. Here he sings about the memories of an ageing woman, her former beauty, lust for life and life-lies. These are lyrics that underscore how much he fine-tunes his texts. This is nothing muddied here, this is quality.' (Von Jurgen Zimmer, Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (Transl. by Andrea Palusch)

"A songwriting tour de force"
'(Wates)' brilliantly observed compositions have already won him over 30 songwriting awards.  'Colorado Mornings'...goes a long way to explaining that degree of success.  Taking in pop, jazz, country and folk, it's a songwriting tour de force' (R2 Rock N Reel, UK

"Melodic and refined style"
'Don't expect harsh country and western flavors, because Wates' ballads have a more melodic and refined style in which his British folk roots are clearly present, blending pop, jazz, even vaudeville, between the elegant touch of pianist Bartosz Hadala, a longtime collaborator, and Wates' signature fingerpicking' (Roots Highway, Italy

"A fine package of songs here" 
(David Hintz, Folk World Germany

"Romantic easy listening jazz with a western touch" (3 stars)
(John Gjaltema, AltCountry Forum NL)

"A unique listening experience"
'...In the folk music genre quality of this kind does not come along too often...Besides a clear kinship with Martin Simpson, Steve Tiltson and Bert Jansch, this emigrant living in the US...adds jazz, cabaret and vaudeville to his palette...Twelve love songs which will give folk fans a lot of pleasure' (Koos Gijsman, Heaven Magazine Holland (Rating 7.5)

"A beautiful album to dream" (3.5 Stars)
(Lambert Smits, Keys And Chords magazine

"Intense beauty (3.5 stars)" 
'...Intense beauty, rarely encountered nowadays...Old fashioned class'  (Cis Van Looy, 3 and a half star review, June 2016) 

"A terrific songwriter"
'...In order to tug at the heartstrings, (you) need a refreshing take, a deft use of metaphors, and more...Rupert Wates does all that.  He's a terrific songwriter - there's a reason why he's won over 30 awards - and you'll enjoy his warm vocals reminiscent of early Gordon Lightfoot, sparkling acoustic guitar work, and a wonderful band that showcases this collection of original love songs...Well-done album' (Jamie AndersonMinor 7th

“An eclectic masterpiece...sublime folk hymns”
‘…Rupert takes his listeners on a delightful cruise over sweeping tones with his vocals.  Flawless guitar picking and a noble English tenor weave into jazzy chords.  Vocalist Stacey Lorin sings on the Irish shanty The Green And Goodly Valley, as Bartosz Hadala mirrors the cool jazz style on piano.  Trifon Dimitrov’s stand-up bass playing helps shape the tone, making this album an eclectic masterpiece.  Fluent percussion from Chris Howard blends arrangements together, creating a full aural experience.
…This work depicts a timeless tale of two lovers embarking on a life-changing journey…Pastoral landscapes of sepia and forest green manifest into one’s imagination while 12 solidly constructed tunes tap dance through the ear.
…Rupert Wates is a consummate professional who graces this CD with his satisfying folk style.  A striking composition from start to finish, Colorado Mornings True Love Songs boasts an array of pleasing acoustic singsongs.  I highly recommend this collection for anyone who loves a great compilation of musings and appreciates the subtlety of sublime folk hymns.  Not all who have wandered are still considered lost, and we’re lucky to have been found by Rupert Wates’  (Brian Rill, The Real Deal Music Review, Colorado Central Magazine April 2016) Read Full review:

"Grapes of Wrath mixed with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by way of Tombstone. Yep, this is dyed-in-the-wool folk music…with a twist of lemon.  
The darkness of Joe’s Café (2010) has gone by the boards here...Replaced by the stern-visaged Wates packing heat in Doc Holliday raiment…flanked by mistress / wife / schoolmarm / society-matron paramour ever at his John Ford side. Ghost town and forest provide the backdrop, not NYC glitter, and modernity raises nary a manicured hair in the oeuvre save for that interestingly lo-toned Sinatra-esque quality in “If Ever My Love”. Wates’ guitar work is alternatingly accommodative, laid back, and then self-interlocking and propulsive, several times hypnotic in a way John Martyn might have employed.  
Dropping into a mode that has in the past included discernable Nick Drake, Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Rankin, and other elements, one can now add Ian Tyson, Livingston Taylor, even a rougher John Denver (“Lady Grey” and other cuts dip into the late Denver’s mountain airs) and others. The band this time, more than ever, is mindful of those great early ensembles Bruce Cockburn trotted out in his LPs, sonorous and complex, alternatingly rustic-energetic and backporch pensive. Bass player Trifon Dimitrov particularly calls to memory Cockburn’s stalwart four-stringer Dennis Pendrith, and the beautifully delicate piano strains of Bartosz Hadala in cuts such as “Fear of Flying” underscore Wates’ repeating patterns to elicit falling rain drops, glinting sun rays, and fresh beezes. True Love Songs is by far Wate’s rootsiest effort to date." (Mark S Tucker, Veritas Vampiras # 1)

Four Stars ****
"The songs are...poetic, often about the beauty of Colorado and they reminded me of Jimmy Webb...and early Gordon Lightfoot.  I enjoyed both (Wates') voice and the songs" (Spenser Leigh, four star review, Country Music People Magazine June 2016)

the nightwatchers

released in june 2015

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Rupert Wates: Voice and guitar
Bartosz Hadala: Piano

Recorded March 17-18, 2015, at Phase One Studios in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Engineered by Jeff Pelletier
Produced by Rupert Wates and Bartosz Hadala
Graphic design by Dave Turner at Dave Turner Creative
Mastered by Mike Smith at Phase One Studios
Manufactured by Superlink Communication & Printing Inc. in Toronto

"The latest release from singer-songwriter and guitarist Rupert Wates will sound familiar to his fans, as it is a retrospective of sorts. Yet while it looks back at a selection of his previously released songs, they all receive new treatment by The Nightwatchers duo featuring Wates and virtuoso pianist Bartosz Hadala. This self-titled album looks forward as well, particularly as it brings together musical elements that rarely come in one recording. As Wates is known to do with his songs, his collaboration with Hadala as The Nightwatchers draws the listener in with superb musical composition, lyrics, vocal performance and dexterous playing." (Dave Turner, freelance writer, pianist and singer-songwriter) Read full review

the rank outsiders ball

released in march 2014

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On this disc, Wates moves away from simple folk, to get closer to Jazz, vaudeville and even theater. He depicts the world itself as a stage, a circus in which we are all performers. At The Rank Outsiders Ball, the more outrageous your role, the better you'll fit in. Rupert Wates welcomes us all, in the voice of a born outsider: uniquely and even defiantly his own. "A prime figure in American music" (Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange) 

"...Intriguingly brisk music with smooth focused vocals...There is a universality of time and place that ultimately succeeds here, while retaining a personal style.  I don't even want to pin it down more than that.  I'll just lean back and listen some more" (David Hintz, 

"A wonderful slice of Weimar sleeze...With short, crisp songs, the album sounds not unlike a musical soundtrack with a cast of losers and freaks, with Wates in the role of MC" (R2 Rock N Reel

"Lyrically articulate and literate...he's been compared to Brecht, Gordon Lightfoot and Brian Protheroe...Despite the variety of musical colours, [the CD] doesn't stray too far from the path of its chosen genre...But then why would you want a glass of Riesling when you have a whole case of champagne?" (Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at

"...Sitting in a weird twilight where a late Edwardian country village fete rubs up against sleazy Left Bank chic...'The Rank Outsiders Ball' is one of those albums that feels slightly out of time and in doing so, becomes timeless...I've rather rapidly become a fan of Rupert Wates and his band of musicians. There's 14 tracks on this cut and frankly every one of them's a winner." (Neil King, Fatea Showcases UK on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at

"...A smidgen of Django, and a little dose of the English music hall leavened with the panache of an expert Continental quartet. Wates is...a marvelous lyricist...he writes words that sing. At first one is tempted to call them Brechtian, but...they're actually better, more subtle and supple. And his brevity...stunning. So what you get here is an under-recognized master of the indie circuit having fun making what was never truly old new. You hope he, and the (Band of) Geeks, receive their due, because the time out of mind experience delivered here is truly affecting." (Steve Klingaman on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at

"...Traveling a step beyond where folkies and mellow rockers fear to tread...'Outsiders Ball' is decidedly Rupert's most mellifluous, most stripped down...and most internally subversive release, with fangs not noticed until they're deep in your flesh, smiling back up at your shocked face...Start anywhere you like in his catalogue, it doesn't really matter, 'cause you'll soon be moving on to the rest rather quickly... Lend an ear to a sometime samba boogie, other times a breezy Balkan ditty, once or twice as though Gordon Lightfoot were contemplating turning Lothario before seeing Bryan Ferry across the room..."  (Mark S. Tucker on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at FAME.)

"Acoustic folk pop, at times heavily influenced by jazz, and featuring deft guitar playing.  The songs are completed with lyrics that are tightly focused, demanding the listener's attention.  The quartet offers a sophisticated, spirited and committed performance.  The content the cover, a little warped and different but at the same time appealing" (Zero Magazine, Gothenburg Sweden) 

"...Wates has a long history of...good albums in the folk genre and this album is no exception...'The Entertainer' is an amusing look at some seedy goings on, with a wry delivery from Wates and expert playing by his band...Wates paints a sad yet compelling tale of the need for escape.  It's a great album" (Anna Maria Stjarnell,

"Rupert Wates convinces once more as a songwriter and teller of outstandingly melodious tales" (Karsten Rube, Folkworld, Germany

"A very fine disc from the richly talented Rupert Wates which we recommend warmly." (Valsam, April 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at

"..Perfectly sung and perfectly played...think of the witty musical interludes in topical television shows of the sixties, and you're half way there..." (Paul Kerr, 15 May 2014, on Rupert Wates' latest album The Rank Outsiders Ball. Read the full review at

"...Delving into the world of cabaret and Weimar-style sleeze, it's more garden party than wrecking ball" (Sean McGhee, Vive Le Rock UK Magazine)


Calling all geeks, misfits and loners: there’s a place for us all at The Rank Outsiders Ball.Rupert Wates’ latest release continues the themes of his earlier CDs “Joe’s Café” (2010) and “At The Losers’ Motel” (2102), envisaging a place where people come together, and where music is the force that binds them.  On this disc, Wates’ sound is more consistent and unified than ever before.  A single chord gave rise to all 14 songs.  Moving away from folk, Wates gets closer to vaudeville and even theater.  He depicts the world itself as a stage, a circus in which we are all performers.  At The Rank Outsiders Ball, the more outrageous your role, the better you’ll fit in.

The album was recorded live in the studio in three days.  It features contributions from virtuoso musicians Bartosz Hadala (keyboards), Trifon Dmitrov (bass) and Chris Howard (percussion).  Stand out tracks are ‘The Rank Outsiders Ball’, ‘Drowned’, ‘Time’ and ‘Travelling Circus’.  

Rupert Wates welcomes us all to the ball, in the voice of a born outsider: uniquely and even defiantly his own.   

– Leo Green, BiteMusic Limited

at the losers’ motel

Rupert Wates singer-songwriter album (At the) Loser's Motel 2012

released in spring 2012

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★★★★★ "Wow! Rupert can wow an audience with his amazing voice and his astonishing guitar skills. Rupert Wates has the four magical keys to being a superb singer/songwriter; he has a pitch-perfect voice that's soothing as well as enticing, his lyrics are pure literature. Rupert's tunes will hook you after a few notes and his hands pull melodies out of a guitar that seem almost magical. But there's no slight of hand, it's all Rupert. His songs will keep you coming-back for more. Two thumbs WAY up!" (Customer review, iTunes)

"You will find surprising beauty "At the Losers' Motel." Listen to the ring of the fingerpicking that opens Rupert Wates' latest release. Or the lovely modulation as the title track moves into its middle section. Or the joyful attack on the strings in "Waiting to Begin" and the energetic solo in "Tired..." Acoustic guitar is what we listen for at Minor7th and Wates' serves effectively throughout as his orchestra. The arrangements feature, at one time or another, backing vocals, double bass, and percussion here and there making some edgy moves. String arrangements prettily support lyrics... But the mix consistently gives the guitar unusual prominence. Adroit wordsmithing reflects the writer's mindfulness. Note the embedded rhymes here: "Taking hard knocks is a lonely school / but when you know you know nothing / you're the wisest fool of all / And you step up to the fool's role call." The lyrics offer rewarding moments of self-reflection as when Wates admits his membership in the "Fools' Parade..." In the reviewed "Dear Life," Wates focused on the bleakness of the contemporary world. Here, looking at the human condition in a more personal way, Wates proves himself to be, once again, a tuneful music man of the melancholy." (David Kleiner, Minor, March/April 2013)

"Another solid effort from the ever-reliable Wates. He's written some truly affecting song and gets great support from the band. 'Fools' Parade' is a strong song with a powerful lyric about the follies of humanity. 'Why I Had to Leave' is a reflective song of love lost that gets a lovely treatment. "Be Near Me' is a warm, comforting song that shows Wates at his best. He's made another fine album. (The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music)

"Rich full-band folk music ... When Love Came to Stay invokes some of the finer British folk artists heading more toward John Martyn or Michael Chapman... a voice somewhere toward Nick Drake, but a little deeper... This album will appeal to a lot of folk-rock singer-songwriter fans out there." (David Hintz, FolkWorld, July 2012)

"I'm not sure which to praise more: Rupert Wates' marvellous lyrics, the spotless music, or that streetside cabaret folk voice of his, a crafted instrument which seduces as it gently reproves...This is one gifted S.O.B., throwing off song after affecting song with what appears to be complete ease...If you're not hip to this guy, you're missing a lot." (Mark S. Tucker, Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)

"One of the most beautiful discs I have heard this year... I think you will agree this CD has everything a good disc should have" (Preach, - in Dutch - translation from Dutch by V. De Waal)

Recorded in three days live in Asheville's Echo Mountain Studios, the 12 songs on Rupert Wates' latest disc portray the ancient struggle between time and human tenderness. Featured musicians are Mike Holstein (double bass) and Valorie Miller (backing voice).

joe’s café

Rupert Wates singer-songwriter guitarist album Joe's Cafe music revue 2010

released in spring 2010

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"A brilliant album all told." (Ectophiles Guide To Good Music)
"Tearing aside the veneer of consensus reality...'Joe's Cafe' burrows deeply into heart and mind." (Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)

Joe's Cafe is a new and unique album concept. Fifteen original songs based on true stories, each interpreted by a different vocalist, retell the stories of ordinary American people, and through them trace the story of America itself. Recorded live in the studio in a single weekend, the album's warm sound evokes the welcoming atmosphere of an all-night cafe, where friends gather to share their stories. Featured virtuoso musicians include Darol Anger on violin and Michael Manring on bass.

'Prayer'- Semi Finalist, Bandwars 2011
'Days Of Mercy' - Honorable Mention Bandwars 2011
'Sally's Farm' - Honorable Mention, Austin Songwriters 2010

dear life

Rupert Wates singer-songwriter guitarist album Dear Life 2008

released in fall 2008

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"Every cut's a gem, completely absorbing, enthralling." (Mark S. Tucker, Folk And Acoustic Music Exchange)

Recorded in a single weekend at the peak of Wates' summer 2008 US tour, this a darker, more intense album whose songs concern the violence and fragility of modern life. Sparse instrumentation supports the somber mood. The album features superb paying by outstanding musician including virtuoso bassist Michael Manring.

Overall - Finalist, Best Lyrics Category, Indie Acoustic Project 2008
'Elegy For The Coming Man' - Honorable Mention, Independent Singer-Songwriter Awards 2008; Finalist, Bandwars 2009
'I Dream' - Honorable Mention, North Carolina Songwriters Contest 2008

coast to coast

Rupert Wates album Coast to Coast 2007 singer-songwriter guitarist

released in summer 2007


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★★★★ "A treasure – Provocative lyrics and unforgettable melodies." (Customer review, iTunes)

★★★★★ "Golden – This guy is unbelievable." (Customer review, iTunes)

"A delight to listen to." (Britsound Radio New Jersey)

Wates' second solo disc is a musical road trip: a portrait of contemporary America through the eyes of a cultural outsider, employing a sound reminiscent of the melodic folk of 1970s popular radio. Recorded in Paris, London, and Seattle, the album features outstanding contributions from Grant Dermody (blues harp), Matt Wates (sax), and Frank Ricotti (percussion).

Overall - Top 10 Album for 2007, Britsound Radio NJ
'California' - Honorable Mention, Great Lakes Song Contest 2010

sweet or bitter wine

Rupert Wates singer-songwriter guitarist Sweet or Bitter Wine album 2005

released in autumn 2005


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"Sweet or Bitter Wine has just the right flavor to satisfy the soul." (L. Heflick, on reviews)

★★★★★ "An excellent guitarist, a fantastic singer, a poetic lyricist... and a gifted English gentleman." (Customer review, iTunes)

This is Rupert Wates' debut album as a solo artist. Developed from an earlier collection entitled Acoustic Cafe, it is an anthology of acoustic-based, melodic pop songs with jazzy flavours and a generally upbeat tone. A launch for the album was held at the Spice Of Life, Moor Street , Soho , in April 2006.

Featured musicians include: Frank Ricotti (vibes and percussion); Adam Glasser (Harmonica); and Matt Wates (Sax).

'After The Rains' - Top Prize, Folk Category Songwars 2009; 2nd Prize Overall, Mid Atlantic Song Contest 2007; 2nd Prize, North Carolina Songwriters Contest 2007; Finalist, Great Lakes Song Contest 2008; Finalist, Wildflower Song Contest 2008; Song of the Month, Songwriters Universe, February 2007; Honorable Mention, Billboard 2010