I recently had the pleasure to attend the preliminary round of Texas Music Pickers, Top Pick Songwriter Contest, and I just have one word to summarize the show. “Wow!”. The talent of the performers was astounding! I felt like I was watching American Idol play out right in front of me and that I got to know each contestant personally, and continued to follow them along their journey. It was a live music experience I have never really witnessed before, and it is sure to be one I will never forget.
This was the second annual TMP Top Pick contest hosted at the Grand Stafford. In the preliminary rounds, hosted this past Saturday, 24 singer/songwriters took the stage to compete against each other in a competition that was judged based on vocal ability, songwriting ability, and instrumental ability. For each round, their were 3 guest judges who tallied up the 3 categories into one score, as well as an audience vote for their personal favorite that would be added to their final score. The top 12 scoring contestants would be selected to move on to the Final Round coming up on October 21st.
The talent was ridiculous and the cuts were brutal, with very deserving contestants not quite making it to the top 12. It wasn’t that the choices that were made were undeserving or the wrong choices, it’s just that the level of talent was so good, that in my mind, it was an impossible decision to make on who to put through to the final round.
No cut was more brutal in my mind, then one of my personal favorite contestants, Chrissy Phillips (pictured above) not being chosen to move on. Chrissy was one of the first contestants to perform and she set the bar so high, especially with her personal, heartfelt, original song “Leaving Girl”. She had beautiful range to her voice, with her glory notes literally leaving me chilled to the bone, with goosebumps covering my arms. She’s one that stood out above the rest, so I was definitely displeased when her name wasn’t called to advance to the final round.
For the most part though, most of my personal favorite contestants did indeed make it through to the next round, which makes me believe I could’ve done a good job at being a judge as well! Wishful thinking, right? The perfect example of this result was Jefferson Clay (pictured above). Maybe my favorite in the whole competition, Jefferson blew me away. In a contest full of predominantly country songwriters, I got more of an indie/acoustic vibe from Jefferson, and I was totally digging it. His original songs, “San Francisco” and “The Tide” were such a change of pace from the style of the previous contestants. I will freely admit, that I have been listening to them non-stop the past few days!
I left the show very happy and content with all the music I had heard that night. I always enjoy getting to experience a new artist and some new music so this event was the perfect place for. Getting to hear 24 unique songwriters share their stories through their music is something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I know I’ve cleared my schedule for Friday, October 21st to witness the Final Round go down, and see which artist comes out on top.
What’s at stake in this final round? The winner takes home the grand prize of $750 cash, the opening slot to the Dirty River Boys show at the Grand Stafford on 11/19, a recorded single from Hilltrax Studios, and song writing sessions with award winning singer/songwriters, Toney Ramey, Drew Womack, and Walt Wilkins. In the music industry today, this kind of prize is priceless and the value of it goes beyond the monetary gain. The knowledge and experience gained from receiving this prize could potentially help the winning artist make or break it in the industry.
So come on out and join me for the Final Round of TMP’s Top pick Songwriter Contest! Tickets are on sale now for $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased here. Doors open at 7pm with the show starting at 8pm. See y’all there!