By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Local musician and song writer Greg Marlow is competing in a national competition that could land him a chance to perform at the Grand Old Opry and a record deal. Friday, he will perform his original song and music in front of an audience and a panel of judges in Kentucky. 

He is a national semi-finalist in the Inspirational Country Music Association (ICMA) Talent Contest. There are 80 musicians total in the semi-finals.

Marlow headed to Owensboro, Ky, Thursday morning for the competition, which will be held on Friday, when he gets his “five minutes” on stage. He is competing against 19 other musicians for his part of the semi-finals. Competitions are taking place in three other states as well, with 20 contestants in each one. He will know by Friday evening if he advances. 

If he wins, he will head to the finals in Nashville on the Grand Old Opry stage where he would compete against seven others for a recording deal package. 

Marlow entered the contest several months ago and “basically forgot” he had entered it, so when he got a congratulations notification in the email several weeks ago, he was shocked and had actually almost deleted the email.

“My first thought was that they had messed up,” Marlow said with a laugh. 

Greg Marlow headed to Owensboro, Kentucky, Thursday morning for the competition, which will be held on Friday, when he gets his “five minutes” on stage.

Thursday evening in Owensboro, he will attend a red carpet event and get to meet with record company executives and other “people in the business.”

His son Luke is going to the competition with him.

Marlow was born and raised at White Oak and has lived in LaFollette a little over 20 years. He has “always been around music” and is one of the founding members of “New Harvest” and was in that band for more than 30 years. 

He credits the Lord and his battle with cancer as the inspiration to write his song “Second Chances” which is what he entered into the contest and what he will be performing on Friday. 

“My son helped give me the idea for the music, and I wrote the lyrics a few years ago,” Marlow said. 

In late 2010 Marlow got a “bad cancer diagnosis” which “put him out of commission for several years” while he tried to recover. 

“They had only given me six months to live; I had several radical surgeries at Vanderbilt Medical Center and then they sent me home to ‘be comfortable’ until the end, and I knew what that meant, but I started getting better and that was 13 years ago, and I’m cancer free,” Marlow said. 

It was while he was recuperating that Marlow “started writing music again,” but it was a “completely different direction” of music for him. 

“The music became very personal to me,” Marlow said. His song “Second Chances” tells three stories. The first verse is about a friend of Marlow’s, while the second verse is auto-biographical about his battle with cancer. 

“The third verse is about the crucifixion and the thief on the cross; the song is about getting a second chance maybe when you didn’t deserve it,” Marlow said. 

“This has been a God thing from start to whenever it finishes; I asked Him what ever doors He opened I would gladly walk through. If it doesn’t go any further than this, it has been a wonderful trip; I’m just blown away that I got picked in the first place,” Marlow said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/16/2023-6AM)