Wildflower Festival

Wildflower Festival

Texas

FOUR SINGERS AWARDED PRIZES IN THE 2018 AL JOHNSON PERFORMING SONGWRITER CONTEST

 

Top 10 Finalists – Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest on the United Healthcare Singer Songwriter Stage at the 26th Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival

A month ago 10 finalists were selected from hundreds of entries received for the 2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest. Saturday, May 19th the finalists competed on the United Healthcare Singer Songwriter Stage inside the Eisemann Center during the 26th Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival in Richardson.  The judges awarded Eric Bettencourt (Texas), Kristen Grainger (Oregon), and Brian Pounds (Texas) as the top three finalists and the audience voted that Kyle Donovan (Colorado) should receive the Michael Terry People’s Choice Award.  All four musicians received $500 in cash prize and invited to share the stage again in a Songwriting Contest Swap on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

“I was thrilled to make the finals and honored to be in such talented company – never dreamed I’d be one of the winners. More fun than a new set of snow tires!” – Kristen Grainger, finalist and winner of the 2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest. Read More

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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WES COLLINS – A SOUND YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO

Describing his music style as “guitar-driven folk-pop with teeth,” it’s no mystery why we’d want to sink in deeper to this songwriter’s curious psyche. We sat down with Wes Collins, one of the top ten finalists in the 2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest, in an effort to find out more about his mush-mouthed noises and how he finds the lyrics and tunes within his music.

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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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CHRISTINE HAND SEES MAGIC IN THE MUNDANE

It only takes a few moments to be completely enchanted and inspired by soulful folk-rock singer Christine Hand who was selected as a finalist in the Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest.  The Americana songwriter is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and recently released her first album, The Book of the World, now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival spent a bit of time chatting with Christine to find out a little more about the momentum and spurring that led to becoming a finalist in this competition.

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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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TWO BANDS COMPETE FOR FAN VOTES TO ROCK IN THE WILDFLOWER! BATTLE OF THE BANDS FINAL ROUND

Saturday, April 14th seven high school bands competed in the Wildflower! Battle of the Bands Qualifier Round at The Prophet Bar in Dallas, Texas. The Fifth Flight was announced as the Winner of the Qualifier Round and Cinema For The Bling selected as the Qualifier Runner-Up. These two bands automatically move on to the finals to compete on Saturday, May 19th on the Plaza Stage at the Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival in Richardson, Texas.

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TEXAS NATIVE RADNEY FOSTER BRINGS COUNTRY FLAIR BACK HOME

By guest contributor: Christina Kennedy

As a young musician born in Del Rio, Texas, Radney started his musical career at age 14 playing guitar and writing songs. After high school, in 1985, he moved to Nashville to pursue his career in music, initially starting out as a songwriter. Here he met Bill Lloyd and they co-wrote “Since I Found You,” to be performed by Sweethearts of the Radio. This song reached No. 7 on the Top Ten Country Music charts, catapulting the duo into stardom.

Shortly thereafter, Foster and Lloyd teamed up and began recording. Over the four years they worked together, they produced three studio albums and had nine singles on the country music charts. “Crazy Over You” was their top single in 1987 reaching the no. 4 spot.

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