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June 18, 2014

Two bands, one soloist win first round of Country Showdown

Live Oak —

The very first WQHL North Florida Country Showdown competition for 2014 got underway Friday, June 13, at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak before a packed house of well wishers for the 11 acts. Saint Johns’ resident and frequent Nashville visitor Brittney Lawrence was declared a winner along with Live Oak’s Late Night Sessions Band and Bayou George/Panama City’s Barbed Wire Creek Band. The Band members and Lawrence were thrilled to know they have made it into the finals Sept. 5 for a chance to go to state and possibly win $100,000 on the Grand Ole Opry stage in January of 2015. The winners were elated when their names were called.

Brittney Lawrence is a multi-faceted vocalist whose passion for singing, along with her sultry vocal artistry, has allowed her to perform all genres of music, most notably jazz, country, pop, contemporary and gospel. Among the honors she’s attained are National/International Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year - New Gospel from NACMAI for 2011 and 2012, Florida Entertainer of the Year and Vocalist of the Year - Gospel 2010, 2011 and 2013 from NACMAI, and she performed at the Suwannee River Jam in 2012 and 2013.

Late Night Sessions Band members are Bob Lansford, rhythm guitar/backup vocals, Nick Kirby, lead guitar /lead vocals, Ashley Kirby, lead & backup vocals, Roger Noel, bass guitar/backup vocals, Duane Miller, drums. The band came together in November 2013. Within a few months it was playing shows such as County Line Bar in Lake City, The Dowling House in Live Oak and putting on a benefit show at Millennium Park in Live Oak for the Children’s Miracle Network. The band plays a variety of music from classic rock and country to newly released country, as well as many great originals, one which has received local radio airtime.

Founded in the community of Bayou George, Florida near Panama City, Barbed Wire Creek is a hard rockin' country/Southern rock quartet featuring a heavy hitting rhythm section and screaming harmonizing guitars. The band members are Cody "Cooder" Bennett -lead vocals and guitar, Benjamin Castro-guitar, Sandip "Sandi" Roy-bass guitar and Scott "Big Nasty" Fryer on drums and backup vocals.

It was a difficult choice for judges with nine solo acts and two bands, all of whom were excellent in their performances. Among those also performing in hopes of achieving a win were Brittney Hall (Raiford/Starke), Alexus Branscome (Lake City), Bryan Wainwright (Live Oak), John Markham(Steinhatchee), Cassidy Kinsman (Jacksonville), Brad Harrison (Live Oak), Reginald Stacy (Bronson) and Alyssa Billings (Saint Johns). Many of these artists will compete in the upcoming competitions hoping to make it to the finals Sept. 5.

The three winners will now move to the finals Sept. 5 at the SOSMP where one act will be chosen to move on to state competition, which will also be held at the SOSMP. The winner at the state moves to regionals, with regional winners going to the finals in Nashville in January 2015.

Two more preliminaries will be held at the SOSMP on July 11 and Aug. 8. The competition is still open to artists who may sign up by emailing brittney@musicliveshere.com or calling her at 386-364-1683.

If you would like to make reservations for RV parking, cabins, primitive camping or camper parking for the next event or need more information, call The SOSMP at 386-364-1683, email spirit@musicliveshere.com or go to www.musicliveshere.com. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is located at 3076 95
th Drive, Live Oak.

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