An inspiring field of former finalists and new faces, this year’s AMPED Music Contest is shaping up to be the most competitive in years. The songs are strong, the artists talented and stylistically range the gamut from hard rock to hip hop.
We can’t wait for you to hear them, so we’re opening the voting earlier than planned.
From July 10-28, the polls will be open for readers of The Augusta Chronicle print and online editions to choose six acts to move through to the semifinal round.
We’ll sweeten the pot with six Critics’ Picks and start the process again Aug. 12. Three popular vote winners and the Critics’ Picks will then move on to the finals, performing live at the official Sky City AMPED preview show and in front of a panel of judges at the Arts In the Heart of Augusta Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20.
Go to augustachronicle.com/amped to listen to the original music and vote. You’ll need to register, then choose your favorite six.
So now, as they say, allow us to kick out the jams while you vote your favorites one step closer to AMPED glory.
Here are the entries, in no particular order:
THE VELLOTONES – Lace Dress – California Country Rock – (Sounds like Emmylou Harris and the Eagles)
JOEL SUMMER JR. – Meth Head Zombie Man – Lo-Fi Power Pop – (Think The Cramps jam with Big Star)
DAYZ TO COME – Hold to Jesus – Funky Contemporary Christian – (If your local praise band turned out to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers …)
BILLY S – Free – Acoustic Classic Rock – (Sounds like the hit off an imagined ’60s biker movie soundtrack)
CAYLA MADISON – Lullaby – Guitar-driven folk – (Sounds like a woman who lifted the best parts of her mother’s Cat Stevens collection)
SUNWELL – Sky Eyes – Heavy prog-rock – (Sabbath segues into Yes on the band van mix tape)
THE HOLLERERS – My World – Harp-rooted blues – (The sort of sounds expected from someone nicknamed Big or Little or Blind or Sonny Boy)
HOUND OF GOSHEN – Cordoba – Automotive love song – (E.E. Cummings with a rock backbeat)
PASSIONATE – It’s a Good Day – Soulful Christian Pop – (P!NK and TLC solo with a church choir)
LUV – Movement – Empowered Hip-Hop – (Mary J. Blige plays it both mellow and unabashedly positive)
DREW ALBENESIUS – Burning Gasoline – Low-key Southern Rock – (The Drive-By Truckers cover a lost Neil Young tune)
CA$H BLED$OE – Baby Says Bling’s the Thing – Humorous Southern Boogie – (Ray Stevens, Ray Price, T. Rex and your choice of Van Zants)
CRAIG HENDRICKS – The Nagging Song – Love-gone-wrong country song – (Waylon, Willie and Merle commiserate musically)
DR. BOB AND KRISTIE MCCUE – Your Love Comes With Curses – ’60s-style psychedelic – (Early Floyd opens the late Doors)
CORIANDER BLUE – Carolina – Acoustic Country – (Brandi Carlisle is woken up in a honkytonk by the ghost of Gram Parsons)
LIVINGROOM LEGENDS – Got Your Love – Romantic rock Southern-style – (Fleetwood Mac with infinitely more twang)
IPPIE MUSIC – Moonshine – Acoustic morning after country – (Jerry Reed sings to the bottom of an empty bottle)
SHE N SHE – Deeper Shade of Blue – Folk rock ballad – (The Pretenders take is slow or Joni Mitchell rocks it out a little)
WILL HASSON – Wheel In the Middle of a Wheel – Mellow guitar rock – (In a world where Leonard Cohen plays in a Mississippi juke joint …)
BILL SCOGGINS – I’m Going to Kentucky – Traditional Mountain Music – (O Brother, Thou Art in AMPED)
GARRICK – My Minds a Wreck – Big Electric Rock – (Taking Speedwagon on a Journey to Asia – by way of an arena near you)
CHRIS HARDY – Distractified – Quirky acoustic pop – (They Might Be Giants or They Might Be Paul Simon)
DEWAYNE BROCK – 5 years + 1 day – Gutbucket blues – (That grey area between the Black Keys and the White Stripes)
TYLER JAMES COOK – Contest Winner – Synth-driven rock anthem – (The Final Countdown as interpreted by Tenacious D)
PRESTON ROMAN – Home – Acoustic mid-tempo rock – (Jason Mraz plays the best front porch set ever)