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Local musicians compete in Nashville radio contest

Local musicians compete in Nashville radio contest

Murphy's Ford, Billy Jack Purnell to put country twist on pop songs

July 30th, 2016 by Michelle Brooks in Local News

Billy Jack Purnell plays his music earlier this year in the Dunn Bros Coffee on Edgewood Drive. The local muscian is competing in a Nashville radio contest sponsored by Cumulus media group.

Photo by Shelby Kardell

What would Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" sound like with a country twist?
Listeners may hear Clarksburg singer-songwriter Billy Jack Purnell's acoustic cover of the pop song at as part of the NASH Next contest, sponsored by the local Cumulus media group.
The contest's first round ended Friday, with Purnell's original song "Fishin" being among the top-voted originals, along with the Jefferson City five-man band Murphy's Ford.
The local pop-country group uploaded its newest song, "Anyone But Me," from its due-to-be-released, self-titled EP for the first round's original song.
Murphy's Ford has not yet chosen among the selected pop songs, which it will cover country-style for the second round of "Take It and Make It Your Own."
"We'll decide what song to have fun with," band member Quinten Rice said.
Purnell chose Swift's "Bad Blood."
"It's a challenge; that song is real pop-ish, not country by no means," Purnell said. "I had to make it my own."
So avoiding listening to Swift's version, Purnell wrote down the lyrics and put the words to his own music.
"It's the same song and same lyrics, but the way I do it is completely different," Purnell said. "It sounds like one of my songs I would've written."
Trying something new, Purnell said he's unsure if it will help or hurt him in the NASH Next contest.
Some voters may be expecting the same version Taylor Swift sings, he said. But he's hoping other voters will appreciate his own style.
Listeners may vote through Aug. 12 on the second-round sounds.
The third local challenge in the NASH Next contest, Aug. 13-26, is "Use Our Phrase," requiring each artist to write a song around a given line.
Rice said his group has spent a few sessions with prominent Nashville songwriters and feels that round will not be difficult.
The final local challenge is a "live" event in September, where up to three artists may be chosen to advance to the national challenge, where they submit a live performance video for judges' review.
The top 10 national artists, from those advanced from 68 NASH FM stations, will be selected for the finale in November in Nashville, Tennessee.
The contest grand prize is an exclusive management contract as a recording artist.
Although it would be nice to be signed, Rice said, his group has learned from participating in other such contests networking and exposure are just as valuable.
"It's nice to get your song out there," Rice said. "I hope fans enjoy the music and vote for what they like."
Purnell agreed, regardless of the contest results, his listener base has expanded.
"It's turned out to be a really cool thing already," he said. "Social media really blows up on something like this."