TheSouthwest Virginia Museum on May 28, 2011, features a Songwriting Contest. The contest represents the spirit and traditions of Appalachian culture. Its focus is to showcase outstanding, but under-recognized, performing songwriters. Songs submitted for the contest included genre that has roots in Appalachian culture: Old-time, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Blues, or Rockabilly.
The festival sponsor, The Friends of the Museum, received 50 entries from songwriters near and far. Songwriters from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, and New York submitted songs. Entries were judged by music industry professionals. Ten finalists were chosen to compete on the main stage at the “Gathering in the Gap.” Those ten finalists and their songs are:
• “Wealth of Fool”-David Cooper of Conway, SC
• “It’s The Least You Could Do”-Daniel Dye of Bristol, TN
• “Appalachia Man”-Stan Dunham of Saltville, VA
• “Quiet on 7th”-Steve Gilbert of Bristol, VA
• “The Right Thing To Do”-Cyndee Harr of Blountville, TN
• “Thank God for the Good Ole USA”-Bill Osborne of Kingsport, TN
• “My Momma’s Old Man”-Clay Prewitt of Knoxville, TN
• “Wearing A Ball and Chain”-J.C. Radford of Kingsport, TN
• “My Heart Is Home”-Manuel Street of Marion, VA
• “Lee County Line”-Shelly Wade of New York, New York
The finalists will perform their song live on the festival Main Stage, beginning at 1 p.m.. A new panel of judges, also comprised of music professionals, will make the final determination of first, second, and third place winners. The songs will be judged on originality, lyrics, melody, and relevance to the contest theme and musical criteria. First, second, and third-place winners will receive cash prizes and a reserved ticket to a song-writing workshop with Susan Mumpower Johnson and Jamie Johnson. The first-place winner will also receive a 5-hour recording session at the Grammy Award-winning recording studio, Maggard Sound of Big Stone Gap.
The “Gathering in the Gap” Music Festival is a roots music festival celebrating the rich tradition of old-time, blues, Americana, and bluegrass music found in Southwest Virginia. In addition to performances by regionally and nationally known roots musicians, the festival will include musical competitions, jams, workshops, a children’s area, and the “Stitch in Time” Quilt Show. Antique, food, and craft vendors will also be on hand.
Admission for adults ages 13 and over is $10.00 in advance or $15.00 if purchased the day of the event. Children under 12 are free. Additional free tickets for the workshops are required, and space is limited. To purchase tickets using a check or credit card, please call the Southwest Virginia Museum at 276-523-1322. You may also purchase tickets in person at the museum during regular operating hours. Visit the festival website for additional information and a full schedule of events.