Born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, Brinley Addington’s passion for Country music began well before the small town singer can even remember. At age three, Brinley began climbing on top of his parent’s coffee table pretending he was performing on the Grand Ole Opry. Brinley was influenced early on by the hymns he heard on Sunday morning and the traditional country voices of Randy Travis, Vince Gill, and Alan Jackson. As time went by, Brinley gained inspiration from modern country artists like Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw as well as his parents’ love of bluegrass music. In the fourth grade, a reluctant Brinley was encouraged to enter the school talent show where he performed in front of a crowd for the very first time. At age 12, Brinley began singing at Church where he realized, what he feels to be, God’s plan for his life: making music.
One of Brinley’s greatest musical influences came in the form of Josh Turner’s “Your Man” album. Turner’s blend of soulful, traditional country music, bluegrass, and rural subject matter became a key piece in the blueprint for what Brinley wanted to accomplish with his music. Since 2007, Brinley has had the honor of opening shows for several major artists such as Chris Young, The Band Perry, Marty Stuart, Jerrod Niemann, Gavin DeGraw, Jake Owen, John Michael Montgomery, Relient K, as well as Texas favorites Jack Ingram and the Casey Donahew Band, and has served as headliner at numerous fairs, festivals, and college events in the southeast. Most recently in October of 2012, Brinley was one of the featured performers on the Blake Shelton and Friends Cruise to the Caribbean.
Brinley’s first full-length album Homegrown debuted in May of 2011 and is garnering outstanding reviews from peers and music industry professionals alike. Homegrown produced two music videos (“Hang on a Farm,” “As Long As You Love Me”) that have already gained over 100,000 views. When asked about his recent accomplishments, Addington says, “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve been blessed with lately. So many cool things are happening, it’s just unreal. I really just want to write and record good, relatable, country music that honors tradition and speaks to my generation. So far, I’m trying my best to do that and I’m having a blast.”
Jasmine Murray American Idol Season 8 Finalist Miss Mississippi State University
Jasmine Murray was born in Columbus, Mississippi. She is a student at Mississippi State University majoring in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. At the young age of three, Jasmine discovered her love for music. She began to take vocal lessons at 13.
At only 16 years old, Jasmine decided to follow her passion for music and auditioned for the hit reality show American Idol. She placed in the top 13 on Season 8. Since the show, Jasmine has recorded and written many songs. Jasmine has also appeared on hit TV shows like "Ellen" and "Live! with Regis and Kelly."
She studied music at the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven from which she graduated with honors in 2010. Upon graduation, Jasmine started working with writers and producers from Nashville on her music career.
As a local title holder and contestant in Miss Mississippi, Jasmine's critical issue that she focuses on is called “13 Going on 30." Jasmine says her family is everything to her and she cherishes them more than anything. That's why she chooses to mentor to young girls with her platform of "13 Going on 30." Some of the girls in her program don't have family or good role models to give them positive advice and support. With this platform, Jasmine serves as a positive role model to the young girls like her older sisters have been to her. She also wants to encourage them to embrace their age and not make adult decisions before their time.
Stagolee began as a blues duo out of Starkville, Mississippi.
Stagolee’s original members, Katie Robertson and Jim Kent (Jimmy K) began playing together in 2002, incorporating each other’s original music. Influenced by several different genres and artists, they negotiated on an eclectic selection of music. Jimmy K and Katie played around Starkville and the surrounding areas over the next four years, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee.
Once in Nashville, a third member, drummer Matthew Watson, was added in 2007. Bringing the beat, he would complete the band and the sound. During this time, Stagolee performed around Nashville and the southeast as a four piece with "fill-ins" on bass. In 2008, a new dimension was added to their music with Breck Cooper on electric bass. His rock roots pushed the band in a new direction, which was felt all along.
Now, as a 5 piece, they bring a heart-felt, aggressive Rock N’ Roll sound to the clubs in Nashville and all over the southeast. They primarily play original music and their sound has been described as “raw and rockin’”. Stagolee currently has two records to their credit, "Stagolee & The Fancy Face" and "Take What You Want". With all members in place, including newcomer Gordy on keyboard, the band is currently recording their 3rdalbum release.
HanaLena, formerly Nash Street, is led by the sister duo Hannah and Caroline Melby. Currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, their roots reach all the way back to the state of Mississippi where they grew up playing old-time, folk and bluegrass music. In 1996, they formed the band as Nash Street, named after the street they grew up on in Starkville, Mississippi. Since then, Hannah and Caroline have been traveling across the country performing and developing their unique blend of bluegrass, country, pop-acoustic, and blues. The band was declared the “Best New Act in Country Music” at the 2008 Colgate Country Showdown in the Ryman Auditorium.
Continuing momentum, the sisters now focus on songwriting, touring, and recording with Grammy award winning producer/engineer, Bil Vorndick. Their new EP will soon be available for purchase and download. As the band transformed into a sister duo, it became time for a new name. They thought it was imperative that their new name have similar historical and nostalgic reference from their childhood. As young sisters, Hannah and Caroline began their first entrepenuership with a cut flower sale and delivery service to patrons and restaurants in town. By combining a name and a nickname, they called their first business together The "HanaLena" Flower Company. Today, that name leads the girls' musical career as they embark on a successful journey to the top. For the first time, please welcome "HanaLena".
Michael & Madison Hardy Nashville, Tennessee
Sibling duo Michael & Madison Hardy have come together to perform at the Cotton District Arts Festival this year. Natives of Philadelphia, Mississippi, they both currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where Michael is pursuing a Songwriting degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and Madison, a graduate of Belmont University, is currently working for MTV Networks.
Having moved to Nashville in 2007, Madison has spent the past 5 years performing at some of Nashville's most legendary venues, including the Bluebird Cafe and the Wildhorse Saloon. In 2011, she released her self-titled EP, which landed at the #37 slot on the iTunes Country Music Albums chart among artists such as Tim McGraw and Dolly Parton, and her single "Don't Forget About Me" garnered significant airplay on Meridian, Mississippi's 97OKK radio station. Today, Madison performs as lead singer with The Respectables, and will be competing for the title of Miss Tennessee this summer.
Michael joined his sister in Music City in 2010, and since then he has been getting attention from some of Music Row's most influential players. Having performed multiple times at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Michael has written almost 100 songs in the short 4 years that he has been writing music. With a blend of Southern Rock and Country, Michael Hardy is bringing a breath of fresh air to what real country music is all about. He will be releasing his debut EP "Redneck Recipe" this summer.
30 Fingers Starkville, Mississippi
With what began as an acoustic music side project between three friends, 30 Fingers has stood the test of time. Guitarist Jeffrey Rupp, bassist Jim Beaty and percussionist Earl Six have each had their share of success in many local groups, but consistently return to the trio format for performances ranging from festivals to club dates to private parties and receptions.
This Starkville-based trio has been around since the late 90s and have opened for several national acts including The Guess Who, Paul Thorn and Foghat. As great friends both on and off the stage, 30 Fingers look forward to many more gigs together – all of them in perfect harmony.
Bill Cooke Starkville, Mississippi Bill Cooke grew up in South Jackson and started taking guitar lessons at 8 years old from Skeets McWilliams. In the early 70’s he played with Skip Partridge at George Street Grocery then at the Ross Barnett Reservoir in the upper lounge of Main Harbor Marina. He moved to Colorado and played a variety of venues with the rock band ‘Medusa’. Following an automobile (actually a 1953 Chevy truck) accident, Cooke moved back to Mississippi and first came to Starkville in 1976 where he taught guitar lessons at the Union with J. Dee McKay and played a few gigs while getting a B.S. degree in Forestry. Cooke returned to Starkville in 1989 to attend Forestry graduate school and has played in the Starkville area since that time. He has played at one time or another at most of the clubs in the area and currently plays in a variety of configurations including solo, duo, trio (Kannawermz), 4-piece, and 5-piece band. Cooke is currently mixing and mastering his first CD of original songs recorded at Sand Dog studio near Sardis Lake.
Mortar Kit Starkville, Mississippi Mortar Kit is your friendly neighborhood rock-n-roll band, reveling in a distinctive sound hammered together from the rockier side of alternative country, the swaggery, blues rock of Faces, and the beautiful mess that was The Replacements. They rock like your dad's old Stones records and your new Hold Steady downloads.
On the way to a gig in Jackson, Mississippi the members of dissonant indie rock trio Poacher decided to start a band in which they could completely embrace the Americana, country and Southern rock tendencies that felt out of place in the loud bash of their current enterprise. They could all be in the new band, but it had to be a new band.
Mortar Kit became Ed Dechert on guitar and vocals, Ben Hodge on bass and, Scott Thomas switched from drums to guitar. They booked a show and immediately started writing and searching for a new drummer. Ed asked their friend Troy DeRego to come to a practice and he was a perfect fit.
They are now two years in, their first full length is in the works, and they want to play anywhere people think rock-n-roll sounds best a little southern and a little dangerous.
Flathead Ford Starkville, Mississippi Flathead Ford is a blues-based band from Starkville, Mississippi. The band was originally formed in Columbus, Mississippi in 2005 as a hill country blues act and has morphed into a high-octane guitar based blues explosion with rock, funk, and jazz influences.
The band's roster reads as a list of Starkville area all-stars with lead guitarist, vocalist and frontman Jerry Carnathan of Columbus, Mississippi and drummer John Staggers and bassist Lee Graham, both of West Point, Mississippi. The three accomplished players also perform together in other acts as well, including the popular original country band Jamie Davis & Soul Gravy.
The Old Memphis Kings Starkville, Mississippi
"It's a feeling....that you can feel, when you feel it."-Willie King
The Old Memphis Kings, a Mississippi blues band, was formed about 7 years ago by the chance meeting of Drew Blackwell, Caleb Childs, and a blues legend named Willie King. King opened his mind and his heart to the two boys, teaching them about life, love, and the blues. He would also take them to small gigs and let them play as his band. Not caring how it might have sounded, King was very patient, knowing that his blues babies would soon grow.
And grow they did, playing on their own, and even playing original songs, written by Blackwell. The two decided to call themselves, "Old Memphis" after the small town in Pickens County, Alabama that Willie King lived in. But, one night Willie introduced them as "The Old Memphis Kings" and the name stuck.
After the tragic loss of Willie King in 2009, the Old Memphis Kings took it upon themselves not to let the memory of Willie King or his music be lost forever. So, using the tools that he gave them, they set out on their own, spreading King's message of peace and love to all who would hear it. Also, playing his songs, like they knew he would want.
Then, The Old Memphis Kings got a sudden jolt with the addition of a drummer, Beth Fulgham. The drums changed them from an acoustic duo to an electrified, power trio and gave the group more diversity and range. A breath of fresh air the Kings were needing. In late 2011, Keatzi Gunmoney (local musician and friend of the band) joined the group on bass adding his chunky blues tone that has helped fill out the sound.
Now, with their new found sound, the kings are playing wherever people will have them. Urging crowds to loosen up, feel the music, and knock it down!!
For more information about The Old Memphis Kings click HERE.
Cedar Creek Ramblers Starkville, Mississippi
Originally formed in 2001, The Cedar Creek Ramblers quickly established themselves as one of the more powerful foursomes to come out of Northeast Mississippi. Covering country tunes from Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Sr., and Johnny Cash to bluegrass standards by Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Flatt and Scruggs and The Stanley Brothers.
Since their very first performance, The Ramblers have always been able to surprise the listener with a very diverse selection of tunes and songs and by their keen ability to adapt them to their bluegrass instruments. They are able to include bluegrass versions of AC/DC's “You Shook Me all Night Long“, and the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses“, including a very melodic cover of the Grateful Dead's “Friend of the Devil“.
Early on, the band had to adapt to “plugging in” their acoustic instruments in order to compete in volume with the larger sounds of other bands at the various outdoor festivals and other venues where they were booked. Even though this goes against bluegrass tradition, it enables the band to achieve the needed sounds for their genre-crossing selection of songs. You will love their versions of Pure Prairie League’s “Amie”, John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy”, Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”, and their fast-paced rendition of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”.
Highlights of The Ramblers’ appearances include Starkville’s Bulldog Bash and Cotton District Arts Festival, Tupelo’s Elvis Festival, and a main stage performance at the Sturgis South Motorcycle Rally.
The Cedar Creek Ramblers are Hardluck Chuck on guitar, Larry Wallace on banjo, Leslie Smith on fiddle, and Mark Tribble on stand-up bass. You will definitely enjoy their hard-driving Rockin’ Country Bluegrass!
And, for more information about The Cedar Creek Ramblers click HERE.
The Melody Kings Starkville, Mississippi
Mission Ministry: Spreading the Gospel and Blessings through Songs
The Melody Kings Gospel Singers began their gospel singing ministry in the early seventies in Starkville, Mississippi. The group was organized under the management of the late Bro. J.B. Harris. There were other lifelong members, Clifton Nolan, J.C. Hubbard, John Bell, Clinton Howard, who are gone on to live with the Lord.
Today's members are Hal Williams, Willie Mays, Bernard Bash, Don Spann, Rob Spann, Willie Swain, John Allen, Terry Evans, and Charles Bowens. The Melody Kings is a religious group who believes in Jesus Christ. They believe in helping the poor and the needy, and helping different churches and communities when they are asked to do so. They all are strong family men with children and grandchildren.
Over the years, the group has traveled to many states lifting up the name of Jesus Christ in songs. And today they are still striving to carry out that same mission. The group has traveled to Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, and throughout their home state of Mississippi. They have also made appearances in Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Chicago, Illinois.
The Melody Kings started their recording career in Houston, Mississippi in 1969. In 1987 they recorded in Starkville, Mississippi, and also in Jackson, Mississippi in 1996. Some of the songs they have recorded and also perform live include: “Hold To God's Unchanging Hand”, “One Day I Was Walking”, “I'm Bound For Mt. Zion”, “Way Out On A Hill“, “Jesus Is Alright With Me”, “Oh Lord I Just Want To Thank You For What You've Done“, “Jesus First Loved Me“, “Lord Hold My Hand”, “Trouble Gets In My Way”, and “Shout Trouble Over”. So far, the group has recorded seven albums, including their most popular, “Destination”. Many years ago, The Melody Kings performed every Sunday morning on the CBS television network at WCBI-TV4 in Columbus, Mississippi. Through the years, they have been affiliated with the Gospel Quartet Association. In 1990, they received a Southern Quartet Gospel Award in Meridian, Mississippi.
The Melody Kings enjoy traveling and singing the Gospel. They love to fellowship with other Gospel singers and Christians who have the same interest of lifting up the name of Jesus Christ in songs.
The Cotton District Arts Festival is proud to present - The Melody Kings.
For more information about The Melody Kings click HERE
Stephanie Jackson began playing guitar in 1973 and studied classical guitar under Bunyan Webb, participating in master classes with classical guitar greats Andres Segovia and Leo Brower. She played electric & acoustic guitars in the ’70s & ’80s in various bands, and traveled with her own band in the ’90s.
Stephanie has taught college-level guitar and music courses and traveled to various cities across the country to participate in music seminars, concerts and recordings. A prolific songwriter, she has written music for various artists, and 4 of her 12 recordings are of her original music. With a growing repertoire of over 200 songs in a variety of styles, Stephanie performs over 200 times a year in concerts, festivals, weddings, parties, restaurants, and corporate settings around the country, capturing the sounds of rock, pop, latin, jazz, show tunes, gospel and classics on the solo classical guitar. She & her husband Glenn live in Starkville, Mississippi.
Courtney Blackwell Starkville, Mississippi Courtney Blackwell grew up in Washington state and comes from a musically gifted family.
At the age of three she began taking lessons in classical cello by Dr. Wharton, a cello/bass professor at the University of Idaho. She would say her mother was most influential in her progressing in technique, tone, and ear training by practicing with her an hour every day.
During the past 3 years, since moving to the south, Courtney has really focused on changing the way the cello is used in ensembles. Now she prefers folk, blues, and bluegrass styles and has truly refined her style of playing.
Chase Sansing Macon, Mississippi Chase Sansing was born April 22, 1993 in the small town of Starkville, Mississippi as the third generation of his dad and granddad. Although they are both known for being the farming family-man type, Chase puts a curve in being the third generation. At the age of nine years old, he was inspired by a concert to become a country Christian musician. Since growing up in church was very important to the Sansing family, Chase began singing hymns and solos in church. He also sang at school activities and to his close friends and realized that singing was more than just a crazy obsession. When the age of thirteen hit, Chase began writing songs about God, life, love, family, friends, and girls only liking him for his truck. At this same age, Chase met a friend in high school who would soon become his promotion and website manager.
Chase picked up the guitar for the first time at age fifteen and began learning chords and notes. After a struggle of being a beginner at the guitar, his songwriting had a much different and easier flow to the blank sheet of paper. Chase has had many accomplishments recently such as winning the Best Musician Award of 2011 in high school, winning 2nd place in the Jimmie Rodgers Gospel Talent Competition, 2nd place in the Texaco Country Showdown local competition in Columbia, Mississippi, 5th place in the Texaco Country Showdown local competition in Picayune, Mississippi, reached 5th place in a songwriting competition in 2010, and is finally making the move to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University to major in songwriting.
In 2012, at age nineteen, Chase met his manager who saw a great amount of potential in his talent. He began performing, writing, and singing in ways that he had never done before. In 2012 and 2013, Chase made many trips to Nashville to record new singles, shoot a music video, and to become a resident of the state of Tennessee. Although there is still a lot of work to accomplish, Chase is staying busy with keeping his fans satisfied and happy.
Wild Magnolias Starkville, Mississippi
Southern rock band, founded by Mississippi authors and musicians Michael Farris Smith and James Madison Redd in late 2012. Throughout the Golden Triangle Region, they play original alt-country and blues rock in the vein of Drive-by-Truckers, Neil Young and outlaw country artists.
For more information about Wild Magnolias click HERE.