Rusty Wier contest finale

| March 25, 2019 | Reply

Reid Perry

Story and photos by Mary Jane Farmer. Click on the link here to see all photos, and feel free to download any of them. No charge. Just enjoy.

The Rusty Wier singer/songwriter contest is now a memory, an echo of all the new and more familiar songs that multitude of songwriters brought to the Love & War in Texas stage. And yes, even the Rusty Wier songs that each performer had to cover in the final two rounds. Such a good way to keep Rusty’s dynamic and touching music alive and especially in newcomers.

This year’s winner is Reid Perry, and his prizes include an opening spot at an upcoming Shiner Sunday, a 3-song EP recorded at  WarRoom Studios in Princeton, and a feature in an upcoming issue of Buddy Magazine.

The finalists alongside Perry were Zach Pohl, Stacey Shope, Larry Martin, James Lann, Jared Mitchell, Harley Dale Brown, Dave Thomas, Byron Dowd. Very tough decision for judges Brett Dillon (who also coordinates the contest), Ginger Ekstein, John Ekstein, Aubrey Lynn Hendricks, Dustin Hendrix, and Mary Jane Farmer. All of these know and appreciate the honor of having been chosen for this task, and the responsibilities involved.

And while the judges were out, musician Mark David Manders played, as did a Love & War in Texas waiter( whose name I didn’t get, but did get back in time to snap a photo of him), and maybe some others, but this judge/person/fan/writer was not present to see who else.

Music fan Kelly McFadin had a special cake made for this occasion, featuring a photo of Rusty and the names of all nine finalists. Reid’s first ‘official’ act as this year’s winner was to cut the cake. And it was amazing to watch all eight other musicians as they congratulated Reid Perry, by shaking hands, patting back, hugging, and doing the guy-thing shoulder bump.

Rusty Wier, just to recap a short bit of his music and life (though probably in that category of ‘nice but not necessary’) was a songwriter who helped catapult Texas music to national infamy in its ‘progressive country’ or ‘redneck rock’ stage in the 1970s. Rusty’s most well-known song, most likely is “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance,” and that title is burned, artistically, into a wooden banner displayed above the L&W stage. Rusty never just sang his songs, he lived them on stage, with his enthusiasm, sparkle, and either had or created a connection with absolutely everyone in his audience.

Rusty passed away in November 2007, and the Rusty Wier singer/songwriter contest kicked off four years later and begins in November each year.

Dillon announced from the stage, when he revealed the winner’s name, that the decision was tough, there were so many good songs performed, and the winner earned top spot based on his own Rusty Wier-similar energy and animation.

This was the 9th year of this prestigious contest. Previous winners were, in order, 2011 Michael Prysock, 2012 Guthrie Kennard, 2013 Mark Shelton, 2014 Scott Sean White, 2015 Mick Tinsley, 2016 Wesley Joe Malone, 2017 Michael O’Neal, and 2018 Justin Pickard.

Love & War in Texas is making sure that Rusty Wier and his music live on in people’s hearts while enhancing today’s musicians careers.


Category: *- Features, 2019, Love & War in Texas

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In the music production business, including event production, booking, photography, reporting, and other such essentials, since 1980.

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