Meet the Songwriters

Texas Songwriters

Aaron Copeland

At the age of 20, Aaron Copeland secured a position with top draw Casey Donahew Band playing keys, guitar, singing harmony vocals and eventually co-writing songs for the band with band frontman Casey Donahew. Aaron remained with CDB for over 6 years where he learned the ins and outs of the touring world.

Aaron then joined Sam Riggs and the Night People where he continued to fine tune his skills and build a growing fan base.

Although he enjoyed every minute with his previous bands, Aaron felt the time was right to branch out on his own. Now based out of Fort Worth, TX, Aaron has finished the process of recording his debut EP.

Dalton Domino

Dalton Domino has made a splash on the Texas Music scene. In the last couple of months Domino won the Larry Joe Taylor singer/songwriter contest to perform at Larry Joe Taylor Fest; played on the Texas Red Dirt Roads w/Justin Frazell; released his debut single “Killing Floor” which made it to number 1 on the Top 5 at 5 on the Red Dirt Rebel for a month; and started recording a full length album. Needless to say, Domino and his band have been busy.

The road to success for Domino started two years ago when he moved to Lubbock, Texas after reading about the many musicians who got their start at The Blue Light Live, including Josh Abbott, William Clark Green, and Red Shahan of Six Market Boulevard. Domino started playing Monday nights at singer songwriter night at the Blue Light and soon met up with Levi Fowler (harmonica), Michael Moad (bass), Beau Bolfing (guitar) and formed The Front Porch Family Band.

Mark McKinney

Considered by Texas music fans to be a powerhouse of a writer and entertainer, Mark McKinney’s wide range of musical influences are clearly evident in his highly original songs- ranging from emotion and lyric rich Americana songs; to rowdy country anthems; to delicately crafted love songs. In the summer of 2006, Mark released his first solo album, Get It On and hit the road touring full time.

Mark snagged his first Number One spot on the Texas Music Chart and TRRR in early 2013 with “She Ain’t Leavin’,” the debut single off of his latest album, Standing My Ground. Later that year, the second single from the album, “Stolen Cash,” made its way up to Number One on the charts. The song was inspired by much time spent in Port Aransas, Texas, a town McKinney considers to be his second home.

Nashville Songwriters

Casey Beathard

Casey Beathard began singing demo’s for Hall of Fame writer Don Schlitz, among others, while continuing to play “live” at any “open mic” and for anyone else who would listen. “My goal, at first, was to be a Super Star Artist, but when Kenny Chesney, Gary Allan, and Tracy Byrd began recording my songs, I realized my true destiny.” Casey said.

In 1997 Casey signed a Publishing deal with Acuff Rose, now Sony Tree/ATV, and has been with them ever since. He has had recordings by most of the “mainstream” Artists out there, and has had hits on such Artists as: George Straight – “How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls”, Tim McGraw – “Do You Want Fries With That”, Aaron Tippin – “Where The Stars And Stripes And Eagle Fly” and many more.

Casey has since become BMI’s 2004 & 2008 songwriter of the year and NSAI’s 2008 songwriter of the year.

Monty Criswell

Monty Criswell has written some of the most popular and successful songs in the last decade of country music. As part of its acquisition of his catalog, Spirit now publishes recent hits including No. 1 Gold-certified single “Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreery; Top 10 Gold-certified single “Like Jesus Does” by Eric Church; and Top 10 single “Just Fishin’” by Trace Adkins, which was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Song.

Songs in Criswell’s catalog have been recorded by artists including George Strait, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Michael Ray, Chris Young, Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, Josh Turner, Drake White, Joe Nichols, Mark Wills, Craig Morgan, Love and Theft, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Rodney Adkins, and Mark Chesnutt, among many others.

Shane Minor

Shane was signed to Mercury Nashville Records in 1999. His debut single, “Slave to the Habit”, reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts that same year. In addition, he was signed as an opening act for country pop singer Shania Twain. The album also produced the top 30 hit “Ordinary Love” and “I Think You’re Beautiful”. Despite the success of its first two singles, however, the album did not chart on Top Country Albums at all.

In the 2000s, he found success as a songwriter when Diamond Rio reached number 1 in 2002 with “Beautiful Mess”. Minor also co-wrote several hits for other artists, including “You’re in My Head” by Brian McComas, “She Thinks She Needs Me” by Andy Griggs and “Here Comes Summer” by LoCash Cowboys, “Playing the Part” and “I Remember You” by Jamey Johnson. Minor has penned songs for Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, Chris Young, Trace Adkins & Rodney Atkins.


The Cleburne Education Foundation invites you to the annual singer/songwriter music event. Come and hear your favorite country songs and experience the backstory from the writers. Nashville Lights showcases the talents of highly acclaimed Nashville songwriter/singers. In addition, the show will be opened by up-and-coming Texas singer/songwriters.

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