An Article by Johnny Cole
Photos by Stephen Anderson
It is hard to believe that the Mississippi Songwriters Festival has just celebrated its 12th year. The annual songwriting event allows musicians from a variety of genres an opportunity to share their songs with others, a number of which have successfully been recorded by some of the industry’s most familiar names.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, last year’s event went virtual as it honored a second group of Songwriting Hall of Fame inductees. Thankfully, this year the festival returned to its live format showcasing songwriter rounds and events at various venues including the Blue Merle, Gulf Hills Resort, The Julep Room, The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, Neon Moon, The Roost and Murky Waters in Ocean Springs, Mississippi; and the American Legion and Azteca’s Restaurant in nearby Gautier, Mississippi, the future home of the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame and several unique attractions honoring songwriting. The 2021 Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony honoring Paul Davis, Tammy Wynette, Craig Wiseman and Bob Morrison was postponed to a later date.
In the past eight years, The Southland Music Line has been privileged to attend and cover The Mississippi Songwriters Festival in a number of articles and photo collections. We have dedicated our attention to several aspects and portions of the event. In 2021, we decided to place our attention on the highly popular Youth Songwriters Showcase, which was held once again at Murky Waters in the heart of downtown Ocean Springs.
We have always made it a point to attend this showcase of young songwriters (ages mid-teens to 21), because we never know when we’ll be introduced to someone with incredible potential or that “something special” as we have seen exhibited in past years by such talents as Avery Landrum, Savannah Ray, Dallas Remington and others. The Southland Music Line has written articles about Madison Grace, Summerlyn Powers and the KneeOn Sisters including exclusive photo collections by Stephen Anderson. All three artists have appeared multiple times at the Youth Showcase. In 2019, we also met a young Chaislyn, whom we have since mentioned in numerous articles and year end lists.
This year’s showcase featured Hunter Lott (multiple award winning singer-songwriter and Nashville recording artist who can presently be seen in the movie “Vernon”), Sophia Meadows (an Ocean Springs singer-songwriter presently attending Middle Tennessee State University who is no stranger to this annual festival), Andrew Sullivan aka “Six String Andrew” (a young talent with impressive guitar skills; originally from New Hamsphire, but now living in Vancleave, MS), Savannah Ray (a truly gifted young lady who provided a memorable performance at 2019’s festival was back with another impressive round of songs), Parker Lyons (a singer-songwriter from Vancleave, MS who was one of the definite standouts in this year’s youth showcase), Dallas Remington (this energetic and popular live performer from Kentucky has been one of the most talked about young artists each time she has performed at the Mississippi Songwriters Festival), Chaislyn (a talented singer-songwriter from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who has already received attention and accolades at several national songwriting and performing events; she is presently attending the University of Southern Mississippi), Gavin Parker (the youngest at this year’s Youth Showcase proved his songwriting skills are beyond his years; Gavin, the son of musician Chad Parker, recently gained recognition by sitting in with the house band at Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk in Nashville) and Summerlyn Powers (we recently featured her in the article “Summerlyn Powers – Heartfelt Songs & Creative Expressions”; Summerlyn, who is presently attending Belmont University in Nashville, has been performing at The Mississippi Songwriters Festival for several years).
There was definitely an abundance of talent at this year’s Youth Songwriters Showcase with numerous standout moments by this promising group of young singer-songwriters.
The Mississippi Songwriters Festival may have come and gone, but it will be etched in the memories of its many performers, organizers and attendees. The Southland Music Line was pleased to attend numerous showcases and special events during these few spectacular days on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Beginning with Thursday night’s Kick-Off Party through such events as the Reggie Bates Memorial Scholarship Fundraising Concert at The Mary C. to Sunday’s finale at the Neon Moon, we truly enjoyed this year’s festival.
We want to personally thank all the talented songwriters, venues, organizers and everyone responsible for making this a wonderful festival and look forward to next year.
Page Designed & Edited by Johnny Cole
Additional Editing by Brenda Germany
© The Southland Music Line. 2021. All rights reserved
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