Wildflower Festival

Wildflower Festival

CityLine

EMMA WALSH – THE NEW INGENUE

At nineteen years young, Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest finalist Emma Walsh may be only teetering on the precipice of formal adulthood, but her music is rich in maturity and sophistication.  Having recently completed her first year at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Percussion Performance) we caught up with Emma to learn a little more about this blossoming musical ingenue.

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival:   What song inspired you to become a songwriter?

Walsh:  In second grade, my parents got me two Norah Jones albums “Feels Like Home” and “Not Too Late” for Christmas. It was while listening to these two albums non-stop that I first realized that writing songs was a thing and that it was what I wanted to do. I’ve always loved creating new things, and through songwriting I can do that. I was always intrigued by how everyone kept coming up with new things to write about and sing about in songs, this fascination then became somewhat of a challenge for myself to write songs and then I ended up falling in love.

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KELLY AUGUSTINE – THE LUMINOUS LYRICIST

Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest finalist, Kelly Augustine, is no stranger to song slaying competitions. Recently selected as one of 32 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Finalists for the Kerrville Folk Festival, this folk-American crooner is quickly making a name for herself within the songwriting community. The luminous lyricist graciously took pause for an interview, before traveling to Richardson, allowing us to ask the musician a short list of questions.

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ERIC BETTENCOURT – SONGWRITER, BARBER, MECHANIC & MUSIC PRODUCER

Eric Bettencourt, photo credit Pledge Music

Award-winning songwriter Eric Bettencourt is making the journey from Austin to compete as a finalist in the Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest at the Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival in Richardson. Over the years Bettencourt has released four albums, two EP’s, and collected a steady stream of national recognition and prestigious songwriting awards.

Bettencourt rested his guitar long enough to vibe through our set list of questions as we attempted to seek answers about the unique sound that labels his songwriting career.

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KYLE DONOVAN – A MODERN DAY RENAISSANCE TROUBADOUR

Denver-based singer and songwriter Kyle Donovan is no stranger to competition. Who is this guy, anyway? His website says he’s “a singer-songwriter based on the Front Range of Colorado. He’s also the singer and guitarist in Miles Wide, an acoustic rock band also based out of Denver, Colorado. But that’s not why he’s on our radar at the moment. He’s gained our attention because as a songwriter and acoustic folk music performer, he’s been selected as one of ten finalists in the 2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest.  Previously, he’s won recognition at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Contest and has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine.

Donovan stays pretty busy with his music, playing in several different projects in the Denver area, including Summerland Sun, The Constellation Collective, and Clandestine Amigo, as well as the aforementioned band, Miles Wide. Suffice it to say, he’s so busy these days that his hands aren’t idle long enough for him to get into any trouble.

His selection as a finalist for the Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest presented the opportunity to sit down and ask Donovan some questions about his entry into the competition, what draws him towards folk music and how he came into being a musician, as well as any formal training it took for him to get to where he is with his music today. We also inquired as to his personal musical influences and how those influences helped him to evolve his particular style of folk music, and his approach to writing what he believes is a good song.

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MIA ROSE LYNNE LOVES HER REALITY, AND TEXAS TACOS

Mia Rose Lynne has made a name for herself as an up and coming award-winning singer and songwriter. She’s originally from Novato, an eclectic upper-middleclass town in Northern California. And now, living in “Music City, USA” — Nashville, Tennessee, she’s joined the ranks of “young, progressive songwriters working outside the pop country mainstream,” according to the bio page on her website.

Lynne spent a lot of time working on both the theatrical stage as well as the music stage, honing her craft through songwriting and live performances, as well as garnering accolades for her efforts along the way, including taking home the First Place prize at the 2017 Kerrville Folk Festival, Second Place at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase Contest, and the 2014 American Songwriting Awards, and more.

This year, Lynne has been advanced as a finalist in the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival’s Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest, and it’s because of this that we interviewed her to get a better feel for what she’s all about:  how she came to enter the competition, what her background in music is, and what inspired her to become a performer and songwriter.  Lynne is fun, full of energy, and it seems she’s got the right idea about how to celebrate if she wins the contest this year.

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BRIAN POUNDS – SEARCHING FOR HIS PLACE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

Brian Pounds is a performer and songwriter with a lot to say about music, especially how the business side of it has become fundamentally inequitable in the way the creators – songwriters in particular – have been largely cut out of the financial loop through online sales and streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify, and other web-based music streaming platforms that are taking huge bites out of the potential revenue stream for songwriters and performers alike.

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Kristen Grainger’s Musical Compass Points True North

Kristen Grainger photo credit Eric Frommer Photography

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.”

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Local Bands Rock the Bud Light Stage

The Rich Girls have a simple motto: We will make your dreams come true! Don’t be fooled by the name- this is not your typical Hall & Oats cover band. The Rich Girls have been making the rounds in the metroplex and wowing audiences with their unique renditions of traditional Hall & Oats tunes, as well as, clever interpretations of current pop, rock, and rap. They take the stage on Friday, May 18 at 9:00 pm.  Read the recent article featured on our blog: “The Rich Girls Will Make Your Dreams Come True.

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BRAD YODER — Pennsylvania Educator and Folk-Rock Balladeer

Brad Yoder (photo credit Vada Kelly)

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

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