Final Round Contest Judges

Ben Lovett

Ben Lovett is one of the founding members of the band Mumford & Sons. He attended Hallfield School in Birmingham before moving to London. Later, he attended King's College School in Wimbledon which he attended with Marcus Mumford. It was in London that he met fellow band members, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall. He primarily plays keyboard and piano within the group, but also sings backing vocals and plays accordion, drums, guitar and percussion on the group's songs.


The band has four full-length studio albums, Sigh No More (2009), which earned them a number of Grammy Awards nominations in 2010 and 2011 and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in 2011, and Babel (2012) which won the band the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, their third album, Wilder Mind, released in May 2015, and Delta, released in November 2018. In 2013 the group won the Brit Award for Best British Group.


“I’m very happy to be involved in the Music from the Moon project as I’ve spent a large part of my career doing whatever I can to shed light on all of the incredible songwriters and performers in the World who are perhaps undiscovered or lesser known. Alan & John have worked tirelessly to do that very thing in Huntsville and this project talks specifically to another one of my passions - Space Exploration! The combination of these two elements will make for a very interesting project and although it is regarded as a contest or a competition I don’t personally see it that way. It really is the taking part that counts.”

Mac McAnally

He is beyond dispute one of the most respected musicians of our time. His peers have made that clear by honoring him as CMA Musician of the Year for an unprecedented ten years, as well as electing him to the Nashville Songwriters Halls of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.


Yet he is also one of the softest-spoken and self-effacing figures anywhere on the public stage. In fact, despite decades of recording countless sessions, releasing solo albums, and writing a parade of hits that include No. 1 singles for Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Sawyer Brown and Shenandoah, Mac seems a little uncomfortable in the spotlight. His reluctance to toot his own horn is a welcome anomaly these days - and that makes his accomplishments even more impressive.

John Paul White

With The Hurting Kind, John Paul White has crafted a stunning album that draws on the lush, orchestrated music made in Nashville in the early 1960s. Yet these songs retain a modern feel, whether he's writing about overwhelming love, unraveling relationships, or the fading memory of a loved one.

White grew up in tiny Loretto, Tennessee, and now lives in Florence, Alabama, not far from Muscle Shoals. He has cultivated his career in Nashville for two decades, first as a songwriter for a major publisher, then as half of The Civil Wars – a groundbreaking duo that won four Grammy Awards before disbanding in 2012.

Because The Civil Wars were so hard to categorize, White has earned a fan base among indie rock listeners, folk audiences, Americana outlets, and AAA radio. So, what will happen if people hear The Hurting Kind and call it country? “Well, that doesn’t scare me in the least,” he says. “As a matter of fact, it kind of thrills me.”

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