Rob McDonald


Co-Chairs Tom McDaniel, Lane Gosnay, Mike Stroup, Brian Kalinec, and Rob McDonald share a deep passion for original music and are working hard to make the Songwriter Serenade a memorable experience and a valuable stepping stone in the music careers of its songwriter participants.

2017 Judges

Susan Gibson is an award winning singer/songwriter from Wimberley, Texas and a respected performer and writer with one of the top-selling country songs of all time under her belt – she wrote “Wide Open Spaces” that the Dixie Chicks cover and has five solo albums released nationally. Susan tours year-round and performs at a variety of festivals, listening rooms, and house concert venues. She has toured the U.S. through the Midwest, northwest, southeast and eastern Canada as well as regionally all over Texas. She was included into the West Texas Music Hall of Fame as 2009’s Entertainer of the Year. Susan splits her time between touring nationally, offering songwriting workshops to writers of all ages, and walking her loyal companions – 3 dogs.

Walt Wilkins is a performing, traveling songwriter based in central Texas, who has released 7 solo records, 3 with his band The Mystiqueros, and 1 with his wife Tina. He has songs recorded by Nashville stars such as Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Rogers, Eric Church, Kellie Pickler & Pam Tillis, and many more by Texas starts like Pat Green & Cory Morrow. All-in-all, he’s had over 100 songs recorded by other artists.He tours constantly throughout Texas, the US and yearly to Europe. He has a star in The South Texas Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi, and the great treasures of a loyal fan base all over the world, and a family at home in Texas.

Carrie Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, finds beauty in the cross-pollination of diverse traditions. A passionate performer, she effortlessly melds fiery fiddle playing, electrifying vocals and a fresh interpretation of new and classic songs with an “Ameri-Chicana” attitude. Her newest project, the Spanish/English album “Lola,” is both a return to her musical roots and something of a departure where she delivers her own twangy, Texas-bred twist on Mexican Ranchera songs, creating culturally blended music for a culturally blended world. Inspired by the 1940’s-era recordings of Carrie’s great aunt, Chicana singing sensation Eva Garza, the album is a mixture of new and old songs. It features Spanish songs written by some of Carrie’s favorite Mexican composers, as well as her own Ranchera-inspired original songs written in English, Spanish and “Spanglish.” “Lola” has received a number of awards and accolades… Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Country Albums of 2016 and NPR’s Best 50 Records of 2016, to name a few.

2017 Emcee

Houston, TX– Ken Gaines is an award winning singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. In 2005, he was voted Singer/Songwriter of the year by the Academy of Texas Music. Since 1998, he has produced and hosted a songwriters’ series at Houston’s legendary Anderson Fair. For the past several years, he also served as the “Voice” of the Texas Music Awards. He is a member of the Houston Association of Acoustic Musicians and a member of the Academy of Texas Music.