It may be a quickie singer/songwriter contest, compared with several others that can go on for weeks and into months, but the B.W. Stevenson 26th contest by far had its fair share of incredible musicians, great audiences, and judges beyond compare.
Poor David’s Pub hosts the B.W. Stevenson contest teach year. After accepting all the entries, the preliminary judges pick the top 12 to compete in person. That happened, this year, on April 18, at, of course, Poor David’s Pub on Lamar Street in downtown Dallas. Vying for the top honor were, in alphabetical order, Lauren Alexander, Brice Beard, Helene Cronin, Emily Elbert, Mike Frieley, Robert Grossman, Ben Higginbotham, Steve Jackson, Mikaela Kahn, Butch Morgan, and Nick Verzosa. ( I apologize if I misspelled any of these.) The contestants varied in ages and in styles, making it a well-rounded night of music. Judges that night picked, Beard, Cronin, Ebert, Grossman, Jackson, and Kahn to move on. Alexander was 1st alternative, as a “just in case” somebody couldn’t return the following week, and Butch Morgan actually made the top list, but bowed out because he couldn’t return to compete April 25.
That second Wednesday, the night of the finals, each musician showed style and class and talent and personality on stage that had to have made it hard for the judges to come up with a winner. But, when it was said and done, Emily Ebert took the top honor with Brice Beard coming in second. Both will be re-appearing at Poor David’s in the future, opening for a name act, as part of their winnings.
Emily’s most powerful song was one she wrote after studying the great artist, Michael Angelo. Written about his power and passion, the young singer delivered her tribute to him with her own passion and power.
The contest is held annually in April, and is information is on the Website: PoorDavidsPub.com
David Card has kept this progressive, appreciative venue open now for 35 years, and regularly features a large variety of types of music, not just centering in on one style or another. B.W. (short for Buckwheat) Stevenson was a regular artist there before his untimely death in 1988. B.W. penned “My Maria” which reached No. 9 on the Billboard chart in 1973, and again in 1996, and wrote Three Dog Night’s “Shambala,” also a Billboard chartbuster. Author Jan Reid dubbed Stevenson “The Voice” in his book “the Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock.” Stevenson was 38 years old when he died.
David Card continues to keep B.W.’s name, music, and memory alive, and as such has remained a leader himself in the Texas music-of-all-sorts field.