Local songwriters gear up for festival

Published 11:00 pm Monday, April 22, 2013

The first Songwriters Festival will be held in conjunction with the TroyFest Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday at The Studio on East Walnut Street in downtown Troy.

Twenty-one songwriters have submitted more than 40 entries in the three categories – country/bluegrass, inspirational/gospel and contemporary/pop.

Morgan Drinkard, TroyFest committee member, said entries have been received from all around the state and the Florida Panhandle.

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“We are excited to also have a large number of entries from local songwriters,” she said.

“Lenny Trawick, Ryan Linguiti, Teddy Ray Bryant, Stacy Tillery and J. Marlin Hamm are among the local songwriters who will compete.”

Tillery, a 17-year-old singer/songwriter said she is a little nervous about performing on stage and in a competition.

“I usually just sing in church so this will be different for me,” she said. “But it will be a good experience and I’m looking forward to it.”

Tillery said she can’t remember not singing. She sings with her family at churches and nursing home facilities.

“I feel real comfortable singing at those places,” she said. “I like to write the lyrics to songs and play the music on the guitar but I don’t know how to write the music down, yet.”

Tillery said the Songwriters Festival will be a learning experience for her because music professionals will comment on her work.

Tillery’s submissions include one country song and three gospel songs.

Her favorite, “but it might not be the best,” is a gospel song titled, “Alabama Angel.”

“The Songwriters Festival offers songwriters the opportunity to receive written comments on their work from industry professionals and to network and collaborate with other songwriters,” said Bart Culpepper, Songwriters Festival chair. “It is also an opportunity to raise their professional profiles and potentially open doors to performances at local venues.”

The first place winner in each category will perform their winning song as the opening act for the headlining performance of Vertical Horizon at the Songwriters Festival Concert.

The winner in each category will receive a $500 cash prize.

The second place winners will receive a $300 cash prize and the third place winners will receive a $200 cash prize.

The Songwriters Festival will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at The Studio.

The public is invited to watch the songwriters perform their entries. Tables and chairs will be setup. There is no admission charge.