The Official Blog of Portland's Songwriter of the Year

Guitar Center Contest is Over

November 10th, 2014

After 69 days of squeaky-wheeling and whip-cracking, I’m glad to say that the voting portion of Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter 4 with Don Was is finally over! I’m also glad to say that out of 15,000+ total entrants, I finished second place overall — and I owe it all to you.

Thank you for believing in me.

The next step is a waiting period, as the judges confer and pick a top-5, based on other merits (not just votes). Last year, the Top Finalists were announced on Christmas Eve so, if history is any guide, we have to wait a while before hearing the final results.

Patience engaged. Fingers crossed.

Tyler Stenson - Guitar Center SingerSongwriter 4

One Week til The Old Church

November 7th, 2014

In just one week, I’ll be performing with my full band at a beautiful new venue in SW Portland — The Historic Old Church. Within the walls of an unparalleled setting, I’ll be debuting new songs and playing some old faithfuls so grab the entire family and join me for this must-see Fall event. Details and ticket links below!

Tyler Stenson + Krista Herring
11/14 @ The Old Church, Portland
• All ages welcome
• Doors at 7pm
• $10


A video posted by Tyler Stenson (@tylerstenson) on


New Screwtape Song on iTunes

October 31st, 2014

When I moved to Nashville, in October of 2009, I was immediately greeted by a number of signs that not-so-subtly screamed, “GET OUT!” No matter where I turned, it seemed the signals of discord were everywhere, stalking me like a beast in the wild. From this, naturally, the hopeless lyric “the Devil knows me by name” was spawned.

As hard as I tried, I never could figure out how to fit that phrase into a song, so it was years later, while reading The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, that the phrase turned.

You see, the novel is a collection of letters from a Senior Devil (Screwtape) to a Junior Devil in training — many detailed discussions, back and forth, on how to best deceive Man. Because the suggested practices were mostly covert, subtle ways of corrupting gradually, I was inspired to twist the phrase into what is now “the Devil don’t go by one name.”

Now, Halloween day of 2014, I am pleased to announce the release of my new song, Screwtape — a different, darker song from me than you might be use to. As I’ve explained above, this brooding ballad is about the many Evils that exist in the world today (the Christian Devil aside), both overt and disguised. Please enjoy, for what it is.

Download Screwtape now!

NOTE: Halfway through the writing process, I was approached by a film company to write a “dark and dismal” song for their upcoming web series. Umm, on it! With a few retrofitted tweaks, look for this song to appear in the opening scene of Drained World, coming soon!

Download Screwtape now!

by tyler stenson © 2014

I don’t believe there’s a single “Devil” in life
Cause in such a world, it seems everything has got a dark side.
Just look around, you’ll find
It’s in the floorboards,
On the rooftop,
On the highway
And every bus stop of every day.
Yes, the Devil don’t go by one name.

I don’t believe there’s a fiery Hell that you suddenly find
And the Road to Hell is not a cliff–
No, it’s a slow, damn steady decline,
Where gradually you find,
The trees are lifeless,
The birds are songless,
The sky is no longer endless—
Now there’s a ceiling at the top of your cage
And the Devil don’t go by one name.

It’s everywhere except where you thought
And gotten stronger the more lazy we’ve got
And it don’t have horns anymore.

I don’t believe there’s this single “Devil” in life
Cause in such a world, it seems everything’s opposed to the light.
Just look around, you’ll find
It’s in the concrete,
In the skyline,
In the scoundrels
And even the good guys caught in the game.
It’s in their wisdom when it’s wasted.
It’s in their power when it’s tasted (and then betrayed).
Yeah, the Devil don’t go by one name.

As the Crow Flies Cover Song

October 23rd, 2014

In 2009, I embarked on a 6-week tour that spanned the West Coast and then, for personal pleasure, I went to Barcelona and Rome for another couple weeks. It was there, on the beach of the Mediterranean, where I hit the wall called Home Sick. Despite the epic beauty of my surroundings, that moment colored me lost and thus spawned a love song for Home called As the Crow Flies — a song that has been so special to me over the years.

[How special? Well, it’s the song I chose to perform at the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Finals earlier this year (video below), for all the marbles. That special.]

Making it even more special than before, I young woman named AJ Bishop has recently recorded a cover of the song. I’ll admit, I teared up when I first heard it. It’s flattering, yes, but something about that moment induced an outer body experience, where I hovered above myself, the words and my historical attachment to the song, allowing me to appreciate the work in an entirely new light — not scrutinizing my own performance but only listening to the words and the melody, as is, all of the sudden, it was that much more beautiful.

Enjoy her cover version, then my original.

AS THE CROW FLIES [Live] – By Tyler Stenson


NEW VIDEO: Explode

October 14th, 2014

Because I’ve recently revealed a number of new songs (via video), I thought it would be cool to do a throwback of one of my personal favorites. From my 2010 album Bittersweet Parade, check out this new version of Explode … live from REX recording in Portland, OR. Enjoy!

▶ Watch the new video
▶ Share it with your friends
▶ Repeat daily

Tyler Stenson - Explode

Download Explode on iTunes
Here’s what’s at stake.

NEW VIDEO: How Bright

September 29th, 2014

A big thing just happened in this big crazy Guitar Center songwriter contest — we just cleared 30,000 points! As promised, for this impressive feat (in which you’ve been an integral part), I have just posted a brand new video of a brand new song called How Bright!

It’s one of my most upbeat songs yet so watch it on my contest channel and then be sure to tell the world about it (via the share button on my channel). THANK YOU and enjoy!

▶ Watch the new video
▶ Share it with your friends
▶ Repeat often

Tyler Stenson - How Bright [LIVE]

Whether you know it or not, this Guitar Center contest is of enormous magnitude and could open the biggest of doors in my career. That said, the more you watch and share, the more my point total will increase … and the better my odds of achieving the larger feat.

Here’s what’s at stake.

Thank you for supporting me, always ;)

NEW VIDEO: Say No More

September 18th, 2014

I’m excited (and humbled) to announce that we just surpassed 20,000 points in the Guitar Center Songwriter contest (more than I had in ALL of last year’s race)! As promised, in exchange for being such stellar supporters, I’ve posted a new video of my new song Say No More, for your viewing pleasure.

Please, watch it on my contest channel and share it far and wide!

▶ Watch the new video
▶ Share it with your friends
▶ Repeat

Tyler Stenson - Say No More

Guitar Center Contest Explained

September 13th, 2014

I’ve noticed a fair amount of confusion surrounding this Guitar Center contest that I’m currently a part of, therefore, I’ve made a video to best explain how it works. Check out the video below and be sure to keep watching and sharing my channel until November!

▶ Watch my videos (many times per day)
▶ SHARE my channel on FB, Twitter, G+
▶ Follow my channel (optional but helpful)
▶ Repeat on multiple computers, mobile devices, etc

• 4-song EP with Don Was
• Songwriting session with Colbie Caillat
• Performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
• $25,000 cash
• Tons of gear from Guitar Center
• Many other recording and press opportunities

All that said, it may go without saying, but I really want this. I made the Top 10 last year and, with your help, I hope to be invited back to the finals, for another chance at the top spot. Thanks for helping!

Guitar Center SSW4 Week One

September 8th, 2014

Week one of the Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter 4 contest is officially completed and I’m honored to say, BECAUSE OF YOU, I’m in first place! While this is all kinds of exciting and inspiring, there is still 60 days left in the competition … so I need all hands on deck, if I should hope to maintain the lead.

My friends, this means the world to me. Just by watching and sharing my contest channel, you can help me return to the finals and have a chance to record an EP with legendary producer Don Was, write a song with pop-star Colbie Caillat, perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live, win $25,000 cash, prizes galore and oh so much more. A real career maker.

▶ Watch the videos (the more the merrier)
▶ SHARE this link on FB, Twitter, etc.
▶ Repeat on all computers + mobile devices

Tyler Stenson - Guitar Center SingerSongwriter 4

Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter 4

September 5th, 2014

After placing in the Top 10 last year, I’ve decided to try my luck at Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter 4 with Don Was and Colbie Caillat, as one last hurrah. If you recall, the scoring is all about the number of video views and social shares received so I need all hands on deck to help me climb the ranks and return to the finals.

With so much on the line, this means the world to me. Luckily, helping is easy:


Watch the videos
they penalize “auto refreshing” so best practice says a few times per hour
Click the “share” button on my channel
Share on FB, Twitter, G+ as often as you’re willing – every bit helps
Spread the word in person
Beyond the internet, tell a friend, family member, co-worker, stranger, etc

Tyler Stenson Guitar Center Songwriter 4

In all, 10,000+ people entered last year so it’s a dog fight — not for the weak at heart. Sturdy up. On top of that competitive (but level) playing field, expecting to get invited back is a further disadvantage for me so it’s going to take an extra bold statement in the voting column (and a stroke of luck) so every bit helps!

Thank you all for supporting this cause that I can’t seem to quit.