Friday, January 25, 2008
– Mississippie-based band Nash Street won the 26th Annual Colgate Country Showdown Thursday.
LeAnn Rimes returned to host the televised event, held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Nash Street was presented with a $100,000 check and the title, "Best New Act in Country Music."
Nash Street (Southeast winner) - named for the place they practiced - consists of Daniel Hare (bass), Hannah Melby (fiddle), Caroline Melby (mandolin) and Jason Graham (guitar). The band has performed at the Legends of Bluegrass and Country Music Festival, Tim McGraw's "Swampstock" and at the Ozark Folk Center. They recorded their second CD at Ricky Skaggs's studio in Nashville. They will be representing WOKK Meridian, Miss.
The five contestants were judged on the following criteria: Vocal/Instrumental Ability, Originality of Performance, Stage Presence/Charisma and Talent. Optional bonus points could also be awarded to acts for with original music in a Songwriting category. The finalists performed in front of a panel of industry veterans - Rod Essig (Creative Artist Agency), Autumn House (Senior Director of A&R Capitol Records), Beverly Keel (The Tennessean), Brian Mansfield (USA Today Nashville Correspondent), Carole Ann Mobley (Sr. Director of A&R SonyBMG Nashville) and Patti Page (Artist).
Many of today's top country artists have competed in the past local, state, regional and National competitions - including Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans and Miranda Lambert.
Each year the competition begins in the spring with more than 450 country radio stations producing live shows to find the best new talent in their market. These winners advance to state and then regional competitions throughout the summer and fall before competing at the finals.