Saturday, September 10, 2011

COUNTRY ARTISTS REFLECT ON 9/11 INSPIRED SONGS

COUNTRY ARTISTS REFLECT ON 9/11
INSPIRED SONGS


The singer, who had returned home late that evening after playing a children’s home benefit in his native Georgia, got out of bed and went down to his office. He recorded the melody and lyrics on a tape recorder and went back to bed.
“The chorus pretty much word-for-word ended up on the record, and the melody, too,” Jackson says. “I’ve had songs come to me before like that, but nothing seems as clear as this. The next morning, I started putting all the verses together about things I had seen or heard about.”
“Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” was one of many country songs that came out in the months after 9/11, giving voice to the tragedy and to the sentiments of survivors and fellow Americans.
At the forefront, Aaron Tippin’s “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly” surged to the top spot on Billboard’s country songs chart after the attacks. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” re-entered the charts in the Top 20, 17 years after its initial release. “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” was out by early November that year, and over the next year, even more country songs emerged that were either ripped from the news headlines of the attack or shaded more subtly by the impact the events had on the nation.
Toby Keith’s chest-thumping “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” went to No. 1 in 2002. Randy Travis came out with “America Will Always Stand”; Hank Williams Jr. recorded “America Will Survive”; Craig Morgan released “God, Family and Country”; Charlie Daniels stirred up controversy with “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag”; Ray Stevens made people laugh with “Osama Yo’ Mama”; and Darryl Worley’s “Have You Forgotten?” topped the charts in April 2003.
“I think that if people who observe country music had thought that country had lost its touch in terms of being able to grasp the moment and really give voice to people’s emotions, I think we learned from 9/11 that wasn’t the case,” says Wade Jessen, Billboard’s senior chart manager in Nashville. “Country radio really pushed that message out, and really in a lot of ways, along with the artists, helped people sort that out in the short term, how they were supposed to feel about it.”

Why they wrote the songs they did

Tippin says watching his record label at the time, Lyric Street Records, snap into action to get “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly” onto country radio as fast as it did was the proudest moment of his career.
“These people couldn’t pick up a rifle so they picked up what they had,” Tippin says.
Tippin recorded the prideful anthem the weekend after 9/11, delivered it to the label first thing Monday morning, and it was on the radio within days. The musicians who played on it donated their time, and all of Tippin’s proceeds went to support the victims’ families.
Stevens wrote a comedy song because “if you can invoke a smile or a laugh it makes what you’re saying more palatable to a lot of people,” he says. And 10 years later, Daniels still makes no apologies for “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” which some people found offensive.
“I wrote it because it’s my way of saying, ‘This is America and we’re not going to put up with what you did to us,’ ” he says. “We’re coming after you and there ain’t no place you can hide, and we proved that a little while ago.”
Worley was fresh off a trip to play for the troops and disheartened by a lack of visible military support stateside about a year after the attacks when he and co-writer Wynn Varble set out to remind people of what was lost.
“This is one of those events we need to remember and our children need to remember. We need to never forget this. If you think about it, this song could span all of our history as a nation. We set out to write a song that would be timeless, and I think we did,” Worley says of “Have You Forgotten?”

Alan Jackson reluctant to cut 'Where Were You'

However, Jessen feels the message that still endures is found in “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
For many people, the song became a comforting and uniting voice of the tragedy giving credence through a series of questions to a wide range of emotions spanning anger, fear, sorrow, confusion and national pride.
But for a while, it looked as if no one would hear it.
Jackson had serious reservations about playing or recording the song because he felt it was wrong to benefit professionally from a song born out of the tragedy.
“I didn’t really want to write something for it or feel like I should, but this song just came out of nowhere,” he says. “I played it for my wife, Denise, and she thought it was special, and then my producer and record label and everybody said I should record it, but I was reluctant.”
Jackson relented and performed the song live for the first time in November 2001 at the CMA Awards, which were held under tight security at the Grand Ole Opry House. Jessen wept with the rest of the audience as Jackson strummed through the verses.
“That’s not something that happens in mass at the CMAs,” Jessen says. “(The song) is what really allowed people to let it all out, and to me, I think the underlying message at the time was, ‘It’s OK to notknow how you feel about it,’ and that, ‘It’s OK to feel more than one emotion about it,’ and that was a tremendous relief. I think a lot of the tears we saw at the Opry (House) that night were tears of relief because somebody said it, somebody actually stood there and told us what was in our hearts.”
“Where Were You” has become another career song for Jackson. He has played it at the Pentagon for 9/11 survivors, some of them still bandaged and disfigured from their injuries, and on the streets of New York City.
“It’s just something you can’t hardly describe, to be able to sing that in some of those locations with people who were involved so directly and see their reactions and all,” Jackson says. “It makes me feel really good about being able to share that music with them and see it make a difference to them.”
Now Jackson is set to play the song on Sunday night at Washington National Cathedral for the nationally televised A Concert for Hope. President Barack Obama will attend, and he will be the fourth president for whom Jackson has performed. The singer is nervous and still eschews any credit.
“Like the song says, I’m just a singer of simple songs,” Jackson says. “I’m nothing special. I ain’t no prophet. God sent the stuff down here, and I just wrote it down.”
Cindy Watts

Country Music News of the Day / Country Musik News des Tages

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Special Collaboration, Festival Western de St-Tite September 8, 2011 http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2011/09/special-collaboration-festival-western.html



"BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE! - 3. FESTIVAL OF BLUEGRASS AND AMERICANA MUSIC" http://countrymusicnewsinternational.blogspot.com/2011/09/bluegrass-jamboree-3-festival-of.html


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Interview with Country Music Icon Tom Astor


Interview with Country Music Icon Tom Astor
 
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
 
Tom Astor: Contemporary music influenced by Country.
 
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
 
Tom Astor: The last year has been successful as all the years before. I did a lot of touring and had appearances in quite big TV-Shows. There was a CD-Box that was advertised in TV and I played in front of 40,000 people.
 
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Tom Astor: The last studio album “Leben Pur” is from 2010. The newest release is called “Seine größten Hits”, a best of album. The album is doing fine; all the persons that are involved are satisfied.
 
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?

Tom Astor: It is a Best of album titled “Seine größten Hits”.
 
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
 
Tom Astor: About 90 percent of the songs I write myself. Usually I choose the last 10 percent from songs other songwriters offer me.
 
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
 
Tom Astor: The songs are about real-life stories: critical, funny, ironical and sometimes serious. Either I experienced the stories myself or others did.
 
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Tom Astor: My last CD was a studio album. The current one is a “Best of” album with three new songs.
 
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?

Tom Astor: I think the melody is easy to keep in mind and the song animates to sing along. The lyrics are ironical and funny.

Lamitschka: What will your next single be?

Tom Astor: That’s something I decide together with my record company in the forthcoming weeks.
 
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
 
Tom Astor: Emotional ballads.
 
Lamitschka: You did a duet with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, John Denver. How did that happen to come about?

Tom Astor: In total I’ve recorded more than 40 duets. To tell you all the stories behind I’d need a lot of pages in your magazine. 18 of my duets you can hear on my 2007 album “Tom Astor & friends: Duette”. Each duet has its own long story. From the first idea many years passed by until the recording was realized. From time to time I met a colleague who went with me into the studio to record a song together.
 
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?

Tom Astor: I’ve recorded more than 700 songs by now. To choose one is difficult. If you had more children you would love each of it the same way. Naturally my most successful songs belong to those I like most: Young Eagle, Hello, Good Morning Germany, to name just a few.
 
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
 
Tom Astor: Very much. But in business you have to consult partners like your record company.
 
Lamitschka: There's a lot of work that goes into a number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?
 
Tom Astor: I did the right decision at the right time.
 
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Tom Astor: Those are the emotional stories I hear from my fans. I’ve heard stories from fans who received new power in difficult times with the help of my music. Furthermore fans told me they’ve plucked up courage from my music to cope a serious illness.

Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?

Tom Astor: My musical roots are in Rock’n Roll, Jazz, Blues and Country Music.
 
Lamitschka: What do you think about today's music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

Tom Astor: Music has split into many categories. Today’s customers are not as tolerant as people were in the 1950’s or 1960’s. Back then the hits were loved from everyone, never mind the style. In my opinion every musical style has both its positive and negative aspects.

Lamitschka: What do you think about today's music industry?

Tom Astor: Today’s music industry has to face several difficulties. The turnovers of physical recording mediums have been lowering since the 1990’s and some day in the future they won’t be existing any more.
 
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
 
Tom Astor: I would love to support artists I had confidence in on a long-term basis without giving them up just because their next two albums might fail.
 
Lamitschka: As an artist, you do many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?
 
Tom Astor: I like the creative work most: to write songs and then go into the studio and record them with great musicians. Working in the studio means the most fun to me. The highlights of my work are live concerts where I can present these songs to my audience.

Lamitschka: Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Tom Astor: I’m always looking for new influences and I’m continually developing my music. The audience has to decide if I’m breaking through any borders.
 
Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you into the music business?

Tom Astor: That was when I started doing what I like and what I’m good in: Music influenced mainly by country.
 
Lamitschka: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?
 
Tom Astor: First my parents and my brothers and sisters were skeptical. But my wife and my children have supported me as best they could.
 
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?
 
Tom Astor: The colorful world of music.
 
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
 
Tom Astor: When I was young I had written a song just for fun and realized I was pretty good at it. The support I received from people in music business encouraged me to move on.
 
Lamitschka: What drives you?

Tom Astor: Every single small and big success in my career as well as my enjoyment of music.

Lamitschka: What does it take to be a music icon?
 
Tom Astor: You need your own style, a natural charisma and a unique recognition effect.
 
Lamitschka: What's unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?

Tom Astor: That’s a question you rather should ask others.
 
Lamitschka: What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
 
Tom Astor: When I was a young musician I tried to get a deal with a major label. Now I have had it for more than 20 years. My goal has always been not to become a nine-day wonder, but somehow remain in music business for many years.
 
Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

Tom Astor: My performance with The Highwaymen and my concert in the Grand Ole Opry are highlights of my career as well as the duets with several American colleagues. Not forgetting to mention my golden LP’s of course.
 
Lamitschka: Any thoughts of retirement ahead?

Tom Astor: No way – I’m doing like Willie Nelson.
 
Lamitschka: Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?
 
Tom Astor: My wife, my children and myself too.
 
Lamitschka: When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
 
Tom Astor: I relax with hiking, swimming and I also relax when I give my daughter a lift to the stable where I take care for the horses.
 
Lamitschka: Is there anything in your life that you would change if you could?

Tom Astor: Once I wrote a song called “Viel erreicht und viel vergeigt”, which means “I have achieved a lot, but I have messed up a lot too”. I think it’s no use talking about what you would or could have done differently. You can’t help it anyway.
 
Lamitschka: What hopes and desires do you have?
 
Tom Astor: Health for my family is the most important thing. Furthermore living in our world should become fairer.
 
Lamitschka: What has been the biggest disappointment in your life?

Tom Astor: I’m satisfied with my life including all the disappointments I’ve gone through.

Lamitschka: Many European fans travel to the United States to attend the several of the music festivals for the opportunity to see so many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

Tom Astor: There’s nothing concrete planned I could tell you about.
 
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?

Tom Astor: I’d love playing East-Asia, namely Japan or China. There are lots of requests for autograph-cards coming from there.
 
Lamitschka: What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?

Tom Astor: Fans can expect a two hour lasting concert with six great musicians. We also include some songs played unplugged. You’ll hear my old and new songs as well as international hits.
 
Lamitschka: When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Tom Astor: No, unfortunately I don’t have the time to play tourist.
 
Lamitschka: Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they respect your privacy?

Tom Astor: Sometimes they respect my privacy, some don’t.
 
Lamitschka: Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Tom Astor: Of course I have my own website (www.tom-astor.de). We’re always trying to keep it up to date. You can find there news, concert dates and information about my CD’s.
Lamitschka: Tell us about the fan club and how people can join it.
 
Tom Astor: You can find information about my biggest fan club on www.tom-astor-fanclub.de.
 
Lamitschka: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?

Tom Astor: The greatest compliment are my fans.
 
Lamitschka: What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

Tom Astor: “If Tomorrow Never Comes” is a song I would love to have recorded myself.
 
Lamitschka: What message would you like to send your European fans?

Tom Astor: European fans could help to work on the image of country music here.

Lamitschka: How do you feel about winning awards? What has it done for your career?
 
Tom Astor: Awards always mirror success. I have always regarded them as motivation to move on and to try out something creatively new.
 
Lamitschka: Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?
 
Tom Astor: There are a lot of road stories around. But unfortunately I have none ready now.
 
Lamitschka: Describe what a perfect day is like for you.
 
Tom Astor: Getting up well rested early in the morning and getting done what has to be done without rushing myself. Then, having a relaxed night later on.
 
Lamitschka: Most careers don't last as long as yours. What's given your career the staying power?

Tom Astor: I’ve always tried my songs to be time spirit, to adapt my music to modern sound solutions. However, I think it’s my fans that have made me be successful for so long. 

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )
www.MySpace.com/ChristianLamitschka 

Special Collaboration, Festival Western de St-Tite September 8, 2011

Special Collaboration, Festival Western de St-Tite September 8, 2011

In the evening of September 8, 2011 at the Festival Western de St-Tite, Quebec, Canada, the evening was colorful and an International quality in terms of country music!

First, a word about the town of St-tite, it's a population with about 4000 peoples. Every year, it's more than 600 000 peoples going to this festival!

From the outset in this beautiful city, i was very well received by the organisation!

The evening started with 2 groups that i havent seen because we were heard for the press conference. The first it's Andrée Watters by his warm voice and a beautiful quality, now in the Country Rock. I've seen her performance before in the another festival and i can tell you she has a lot of talent! I invite you to visit her website: http://www.andreewatters.com/

For the second group, was Urban Cowboy they make a county somewhat new Generation! It's a group of Quebec city! I invite you to visit their website: http://fr-fr.facebook.com/pages/URBAN-COWBOY/301394058848?sk=wall

Now for the main event, Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson with guest artist Cowboy Troy.

There are nearly 6000 peoples who attended the show to Estrades Molson Ex!

During the show, Big and Rich and Gretchen Wilson have offered a high quality performance! There have been many songs including: Fake I.D

And now, Gretchen Wilson, she has given us these successes and a bit of Lady Marmalade of Moulin Rouge for the pleasure of all! Shortly after she has launched multiple Country Hats in the crowd!

With the Xtreme Musik tour, I can tell you, this tour is a good quality and good music for all fans of country music!


It was a great night!




Martin Cloutier,
Special Collaboration for Country Music News International.

CAA SHOWCASE LINEUP ANNOUNCED

CAA SHOWCASE LINEUP ANNOUNCED
 
 
NASHVILLE, TN - (September 9, 2011) - It was announced today that CAA will showcase some of their brightest talent for over 500 attendees on Monday, October 3 at the annual conference of the International Entertainment Buyers Association. The lineup will include: Kip Moore, Edens Edge, Brett Eldredge, Craig Campbell, Sonia Leigh and Love and Theft.
 
“The CAA showcase is always a much anticipated performance,” said executive director, Tiffany Davis. “The agency has been a great partner of ours for many years, and we always look forward to their talent.”
 
Check out highlights from past years  here, and watch for many more announcements coming soon!
 
ABOUT THE IEBA CONFERENCE
Over 500 of the live entertainment industry's top decision makers will converge in Nashville, Tennessee October 2-4 for three days of non-stop networking, education and showcases from the hottest touring acts in all genres of entertainment at the annual conference of the International Entertainment Buyers Association. 
 
International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) is a non-profit trade organization for live entertainment industry professionals. Founded in 1970, IEBA provides networking, showcasing and educational opportunities to strengthen relationships, foster growth and increase revenue for the live entertainment industry. IEBA showcases the best and brightest talent in all genres of music and all fields of entertainment. IEBA is an intimate organization that makes a huge impact. At IEBA ... The Buying Starts Here.  ieba.org
 
Brett Eldredge

Kip Moore

Sonia Leigh
 


 
Craig Campbell

Edens Edge

Love and Theft
 
ABOUT KIP MOORE
Singer-songwriter Kip Moore combines a raw and rustic voice with compelling lyrics of honesty to create a unique sound that’s simultaneously hypnotic and edgy. His voice is weathered by life’s detours and disappointments and strengthened by his dreams and determination. His music is infused with relentless intensity, both of passion and frustration.
 
The boy who grew up daydreaming about life outside of the small town of Tifton, Ga., became a man who paints vivid portraits with his lyrics. Although he devoted every free moment to music during college, his parents didn’t know about his musical activities. “They were all shocked when they found out about it because they didn’t know I could sing or play,” he says.
 
After graduation he moved to Hawaii on a whim with just a backpack, a surfboard and a friend. They slept on an airport bench the first night and then lucked into a hut that was $50 a month. After six months of this tropical paradise, Kip thought he had found his permanent home until his friend encouraged him to pursue songwriting as a living. He drove to Nashville on Jan. 1, 2004 and immersed himself in the songwriting community. After four years of performing locally, he caught the attention of Creative Artist Agency’s Marc Dennis, who called Universal Music Group Nashville’s Joe Fisher. Not only did Joe’s encounter lead to his record deal with MCA Nashville, but it also brought about his introduction to songwriter Brett James, who produced Kip’s debut album.
 
ABOUT EDENS EDGE
Three talented young musicians from Arkansas -- Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner, and Cherrill Green --make their debut on Big Machine Records with a vibrant sound that honors country music’s roots while creatively pushing the envelope with their seasoned musicianship, dazzling harmonies and insightful songwriting.

Each grew up in rural Arkansas where farming, faith and family provided a firm foundation and offered a springboard for their musical aspirations. Dean and Cherrill had played music together a few times during their college days, and a month after Dean joined Hannah’s group, they recruited Cherrrill. An entry in the 2006 CMT/NSAI Songwriter’s contest caught the attention of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Kye Fleming, known for penning such classic hits as Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Sylvia’s “Nobody,” Ronnie Milsap’s “Smoky Mountain Rain.” She encouraged the young trio to move to Nashville. When Fleming was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last year, Edens Edge was asked to perform a medley of her hits at the induction ceremony to a room filled with Music City's most powerful movers and shakers. “That night we got a record deal offer from Big Machine,” says Hannah. Working with producer Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts) the trio crafted a stellar debut that showcases their strengths as musicians as well as their compelling vocal blend.
 
ABOUT BRETT ELDREDGE
Paris, Illinois native Brett Eldredge's depth of his writing and the sheer power of his smoky and expressive baritone—are both apparent in his first single. "Raymond" is the poignant tale of a nursing home employee mistaken by a patient with Alzheimer's for her deceased son, who was killed at war. It is a song whose inspiring reaffirmation of their mutual humanity is affecting listeners deeply. The single rings true for Eldredge as his Grandmother currently struggles through the disease. 
 
Brett has earned a reputation as much for the strength of his writing as for his world-class voice. He and co-writer Pat McLaughlin landed a song called "I Think I've Had Enough" on Gary Allan's latest album, Get Off On The Pain, and one of his frequent collaborators is Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry stalwart Bill Anderson. Brett heard all kinds of music growing up, and became a particular fan of the classic pop singers he heard in his grandfather's car.
 
ABOUT CRAIG CAMPBELL
Craig Campbell's songs are down-to-earth portraits of real people from the American heartland. The sound is traditional, unapologetic country. Campbell’s unique style is inspired by a blend influences. Growing up, Campbell’s house was filled with the sound of gospel groups—the Cathedrals, the Inspirations, the McKameys—and the from-the-gut approach of those acts resonates in his delivery today. He’s drawn comparisons to fellow Georgian Alan Jackson, but it's Travis Tritt fierce vocal style who most influenced Campbell.
 
His self-titled debut album blends Campbell’s masculine, no-nonsense vocal style with solid, salt-of-the-earth songs about America’s working class and a classic sense of wordplay. The project’s songs, eleven of which are co-written by Campbell, expand on the central themes of his life—family, friends, purpose and self-determination—all delivered with the force and conviction of someone who’s lived every sentiment in every word.
 
ABOUT SONIA LEIGH
Sonia Leigh has been winning over audiences with her gritty vocal delivery and bold, disarmingly honest songwriting. Between her childhood concerts and her rising career today as a Southern troubadour were many hard days, battle scars and dues paid. Sonia has earned every bit of soulful, lived-in authenticity her songs and performances portray.
 
One of her mentors, Zac Brown, recently signed her to his Southern Ground Artists label. Leigh has been a part of Brown’s musical family for seven years now, having met the singer/songwriter in Atlanta musical circles. Brown’s right-hand man John Hopkins served as producer for Leigh’s independent outing Run or Surrender. Like everything else she’s done, her Southern Ground Artists debut, 1978 December, is the sound of Leigh expressing her soul. It’s not calculated, focus-grouped or target-marketed. In fact, Leigh wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to do that. “It’s hard for me to just sit down and write and try to write a hit,” she says. “That’s just not me as a writer. I write about what’s happening and what I see.”
 
ABOUT LOVE AND THEFT
Whether headlining or opening, Love and Theft (Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles) has swept away audiences with their soaring harmonies and on-stage charisma. Fans have stood in line for up to three hours after the show for a chance to meet the duo and get an autograph. As those fans bought their debut album, World Wide Open, and drove their breakthrough single, "Runaway," up the charts, the milestones followed.
 
"Runaway" was 2009's highest-charting debut single, quickly hitting the Top 10 on both the Billboard and Mediabase country charts. It also had the year's highest first-week digital track sales for any debut country artist. The single helped drive World Wide Open into the Top 10 on the Nielsen Soundscan Country Top 75 chart.
 
Newly signed to RCA Nashville, Love and Theft are currently scheduled for a November single with the cd to follow in 2012.

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USA Songwriting Competition

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