SouthArk News

03-18-2010 Songwriters’ Showcase on April 9 at the Rialto Music Hall

Songwriters’ Showcase has lineup of nine performers

EL DORADO, Ark.—Nine singer-songwriters from across the region will take the stage to share their music in the Songwriters’ Showcase from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 9 at the historic Rialto Music Hall downtown here. The event is being hosted by South Arkansas Community College.

The hefty lineup includes a variety of performers and recording artists who come from different musical backgrounds:

David St. Romain of Alexandria, La., was a finalist on the country-music-singing competition “Nashville Star” in 2007 but counts among his influences Boyz II Men and Guns ‘N’ Roses. He has toured the region for seven years on the strength of his album “DSR” and his latest single, “That’s Love.” A new album is due to be released from St. Romain in April.

Brad Wells, a Monroe, La., radio show host, began his interest in performing music at age 14, playing his mother’s acoustic guitar by ear. His interests moved more to an electric, hard-rock sound as he entered high school, but Wells mellowed his music when he began doing solo performances and gigs with a cover band in more recent years. His original music is influenced by Hootie and the Blowfish, the Gin Blossoms and popular musicians of today.

Chris Loggins of El Dorado spent most of his 20s traveling and recording as the lead singer of a harder-edged rock band, but then decided to go solo and strip down his sound, recording his album “Thirty Years” in 2005. He moved back to his hometown, playing a cerebral brand of rock with a noticeable blues influence. Loggins also has a new acoustic album in the works.

General Patterson of Monroe has found recent success with the locally-popular single “North Louisiana Redneck,” but Patterson has been a musician for nearly 40 years, starting out in Nashville, Tenn., in the early 1970s. He currently is recording tracks for a new album and also is writing a novel. Patterson, a grandfather several times over, spent eight years as an archeologist.

Carson Thompson of Delhi, La., began his musical career in church as a teenager. He penned his first song at age 18. Thompson’s music slants toward southern rock, as he calls the Black Crowes one of his biggest musical influences. Thompson plays gigs throughout Louisiana.

Bradley Bridges hails from the northeastern Louisiana area and also began writing songs while still a teenager. Bridges said that he draws inspiration from all types of music, as well as from his Southern upbringing. His first album is nearing release.

Ben Coulter is from Montrose, an Ashley County town of fewer than 500 residents, but has for the last six years traveled throughout the South and Midwest performing the music that he labels “Delta country”—country music infused with Delta blues. He began playing in Christian praise and worship bands as a college student, eventually moving to Branson, Mo., in 2004, performing there for three years and recording several albums. In 2007 he relocated to Nashville, when he cut “Cuzz Volume III: Feel Like Goin’ Home.” And that’s just what Coulter did, moving back to Arkansas and performing at venues like Riverfest in Little Rock, the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, La., and the Jammin’ at the Delta Blues Festival in Clarksdale, Miss.

Monty Russell, a Ruston, La., radio personality, first began playing music at age 8 and throughout more than 30 years of performing has shared the stage with artists like Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, David Alan Coe, Blues Traveler, Merle Haggard and Cross Canadian Ragweed. His sound is influenced by honky-tonk and gospel. Russell also acts as a mentor of sorts for younger artists around the region; Thompson and Bridges both list him among their biggest inspirations.

Trey Hawkins of Crossett has been touring and performing around the region for the last dozen years, and has a new live album on its way to release. Hawkins lists among his influences Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and the Dave Matthews Band. He has played El Dorado’s Musicfest and last year won the New Music Showdown in Little Rock.

Tickets for the Songwriters’ Showcase are $5 and are available in advance at the SouthArk Bookstore at 300 S. West Ave. and at the SouthArk Center for Workforce Development at 3698 E. Main. They also may be purchased over the phone by calling (870) 864-7163. Tickets will be available at the door on the night of the event, but advanced purchase allows for early admittance and provides passes to meet the performers.

Only those 21 and older will be admitted.

Coulter, Hawkins, Loggins, Patterson, Russell, St. Romain, Wells.

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