Chris won first-prize at the prestigious Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in both bluegrass and gospel categories, and his songs have been recorded by many top artists such as Claire Lynch, Dale Ann Bradley, Larry Cordle, Dan Paisley, Michael Cleveland, Suzanne Thomas, and Sally Jones. Five of his songs have appeared on the Bluegrass Unlimited top-30 chart. He was an IBMA showcase songwriter in 2003, and was nominated by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) as Songwriter of the Year in 2005. Chris also writes feature articles for music magazines and was nominated as Print Media Person of the Year for the IBMA in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He has also taught rhythm guitar and songwriting at the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, the American River Music Camp and the California Bluegrass Association music camp, and taught songwriting at the Sorefingers Bluegrass Week in the UK in April 2007, and rhythm guitar at the Augusta Heritage workshop in August 2007.