The Official Blog of Portland's Songwriter of the Year

ISC 2014 Semi-Finalists Announced

March 5th, 2015

Every year, I optimistically enter the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) and never advance beyond my initial application. This year, they just announced the semi-finalists (top 10% of 18,000 entrants) and I’m proud and honored to say I am an official semi-finalist for, not one, but three different songs!

• Best Music Video: “This Too Shall Pass”
• Best Music Video: “Ramblin’ Kind”
• Best Americana Song: “That I’ll Know You”

This means my songs will be presented to a panel of celebrity judges over the next few weeks and winners will be announced in April. No votes, just merit. So, fingers crossed!

A photo posted by Tyler Stenson (@tylerstenson) on

And So It Is

December 23rd, 2014

I wish I could say different but Guitar Center officially announced their Top 5 finalists for the Singer-Songwriter 4 contest with Don Was and Colbie Caillat … and I was not included this time around. Congrats to those that were.

A photo posted by Tyler Stenson (@tylerstenson) on

I won’t bore you with the storm in my head and in my heart but I will offer up a huge, giant, endless THANK YOU for bearing with me throughout and helping me make the best case possible. It was a lot to expect a repeat invitation but my, what a strong statement we made — out of over 14,000 entrants, YOU helped me accumulate the 2nd most votes overall and I’m humbled by that support. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And so it is.

Happy Holidays to you and a prosperous 2015.

A December to Remember

December 20th, 2014

A wise person once said, “if you can’t beat them, join them” — a small but valuable bit of advice I’ve learned to follow across the last few Decembers. With a million holiday parties occupying each weekend of this time of year, it was becoming a progressively tougher battle to draw people out of their warm and cozy homes and bring them to my shows.

So I’ve simply started bringing my shows to the people.

Though rarely viewable by the public, this December, I got to play a ton of wonderful events. From the comfort of other people’s living rooms, office holiday parties, charitable events and varied personal gatherings — Portland, Seattle and many suburbs in between — it was a great month of performances and perhaps most importantly, never a battle.

Interested in hosting a living room concert of your own? Look me up!

Just played another fantastic company holiday party … this time at the Hilton downtown. Very, very festive!

A photo posted by Tyler Stenson (@tylerstenson) on

Thank you Seattle Christmas party people … it was fun … but now the long trek home.

A photo posted by Tyler Stenson (@tylerstenson) on

December 2014 Newsletter

December 5th, 2014

Whether you know it or not, I religiously send out a newsletter each month. Here is the December 2014 newsletter, in all its glory. Enjoy!


Tyler Stenson December 2014 Newsletter

New Holiday Gift Packs

December 4th, 2014

Perfect for stocking stuffers, white elephant parties or your office gift exchange, these 2-disc gift packs pair the sweetly intimate acoustic sounds of Bittersweet Parade with the upbeat production of Some Days I’m a Lion, giving your lucky individual a soundtrack for any day.

● Bittersweet Parade (2010 LP)
● Some Days I’m a Lion (2012 LP)
● Both CDs autographed by Tyler Stenson

Tyler Stenson Holiday Gift Pack

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.