As her band, True North’s website states, “Kristen Grainger, (vocals, ukulele) is the voice of True North. Her songwriting has received national recognition — “Be Here Now” was named Song of the Year, folk category, for the 2015 IMEA Awards; she placed second at the 2015 MerleFest Songwriting Contest; and she was one of ten finalists in the 2014 Telluride Troubadour songwriting contest, performing solo in front of 10,000 ‘Festivarians.’ Kristen and Dan Wetzel’s song, “Mountain Boy” was featured on the European World Bluegrass Festival’s compilation CD released in 2008. The duo also was chosen from more than 800 entries to perform two originals, “Limbo” and “Doris Dean,” in the finals at the Kerrville New Folk Songwriters’ Contest. Their song “Hard Place to Suffer (And That Really Gets Me Down)” won the 2010 Wintergrass Song Contest.”
Brad Yoder is not your typical coffee shop crooner. He’s worked hard to get where he is, and to have been able to open for such diverse artists the likes of the Cowboy Junkies, Emmylou Harris, Peter Paul and Mary, Steve Earle, and Jackson Browne, it’s taken a lot of perspiration and inspiration along the way. Playing more than 150 shows annually — everywhere from your local coffee shops and cafés, churches, and festivals all over the mid-Atlantic and Appalachia — Yoder has made it his business and personal quest to get his music out there before the masses.
Yoder has managed to sell more than 7000 copies of his five self-released CDs, including 2010’s Excellent Trouble, 2007’s Someday or Never, 2002’s Used, 1999’s Talk to Total Strangers, and 1997’s debut CD, Best Sunday Heart. Music from these releases have also been featured on CBS’s “NUMB3RS,” NPR’s “Car Talk,” ABC Family Network’s “Beautiful People,” and as part of the Pittsburgh Regional History Center’s 9/11 Memorial Exhibit. Read More
We are excited to announce the finalist results of the 2018 Wildflower! Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest. Hundreds of entries poured in from all over the country and the 10 finalists have been chosen. The selection is a blind screening process by several experienced music promoters, songwriters, and educators familiar with original songwriting and performing techniques.
The finalists will perform on the United Healthcare Singer Songwriter Stage in the Eisemann Center the weekend of the Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival on Saturday, May 19th at 11:30 a.m. Three of these artists will receive a $500 cash award. The Michael Terry People’s Choice Award will also be judged by the audience and presented at the end of the performances. The winners of the final contest are invited to perform on the Courtyard Stage on Sunday, May 20th and sell their music or merchandise to fans. Lodging and access to the Green Room is provided as well as weekend festival passes for the finalist and a guest.
1. What does it mean to be selected as a finalist?
My wife and I are super new to Texas, and neither of us knew too much about the music scene here before we moved to Houston. Being selected as a top ten finalist is a really exciting way to dive into the scene and get to know so many amazing songwriters and performers. Obviously, it’s a huge honor. Read More
Who gave you the nickname “Wicked Wit of the West” and what does it mean?
My friend Steve Brooks, who is a wonderful writer and songwriter, gave me that nickname several years back. We’ve written a few songs together, including “Let the Men Buy the Beer” and “Snot-Nosed Rag.” I think he meant it kindly, but essentially it means I’m a smart-alecky tart. Read More
1. Do you have a favorite quote, lyric, or credo that you live by?
My credo is real simple: be kind and be thankful. I do my very best to treat people the way I want to be treated and to show kindness and generosity whenever I can. I suppose the thing I try hardest to do is be thankful for what I have. I’ve seen the worst parts of the world and been to war five times. I know what real suffering looks like and I know how good I have it every day. I try never to forget that.
As a songwriter, I have a simple goal for every song–something I learned when I attended a Songwriting Seminar last summer with the legendary Songwriter Steve Earle. One of the things Steve said was “your goal as a Songwriter should be to make the listener feel the emotion you felt when you wrote the song.” He explained that when a listener shares an emotion with the Songwriter (who is a total stranger) it reminds the listener that they not alone in the world. Making that connection is something I hope to do in every song I write. Read More