Jesup Dolly wins AMPED Music Contest

Celia Gary, Results May Vary place in top three

MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
The band Jesup Dolly was named the winner of AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest at the annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival on Saturday night.
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Rock band Jesup Dolly, with their original song Evangeline, took the top prize in 2012’s AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest finals Saturday night at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival.

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Celia Gary placed second in AMPED after six finalists performed for judges Roger Davis, David Swanagin and Chris Rucker and the Arts in the Heart audience.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Celia Gary placed second in AMPED after six finalists performed for judges Roger Davis, David Swanagin and Chris Rucker and the Arts in the Heart audience.

Hear the finalists' original music:

Celia Gary took second place with her song Leaving Me Hanging; and Results May Vary won third place, performing Best Shot.

Judges Roger Davis, David Swanagin and Chris Rucker chose the top three from the six AMPED finalists based on each act’s 20-minute performance, which included their song entry. First place won $400, second won $200 and third won $100.

Finalists included Wade Teston with Gene & Roy, Bethany Kathleen with Stuck in Time, and Julie Farris and The Farris-Owen Project with Delia Jones.

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RogerDavis
11
Points
RogerDavis 09/16/12 - 11:08 am
3
1
As one of the three judges.....

.....I'd like to weigh in...The three acts that did not place ,were great and I applaud your willingness to put yourselves "out there" which is NEVER an easy thing to do as an artist.
The fact that you guys did not make the final three should NOT deter you from continuing to write, record and perform your music..Please..PLEASE!! keep it up.....we need artists, singers and songwriters in this world...and you guys should never stop.....
However, this year, in particular, was hard. Because of the sheer depth of talent.
The new format made the cream rise to the top and made it even harder to decide on who should be first, second and third.
All three of us (Me, David and Chris) talked constantly during the sets and were intently interested in the outcome.
Results May Vary had to set the tone for the contest, being the first out of the blocks....And they did with aplomb...I was impressed by their tightness, the changes in their music and the fact that KIDS (to me anyway) could play together that well...(they were first in the running for a long while).
The next act that caught our attention was Celia Gary. I wasn't terribly impressed with the studio version of the song that was submitted, but her stage presence caught my ear. She was the only artist that had all three of us judges standing still to listen.....great work indeed.....
Lastly was Jesup Dolly....Again. I thought the studio version of the submitted song lacked energy. But it was , to me , just ragged enough to sound interesting....
But, live, they were the best band....that may be because they are mostly MY age....(if you haven't gotten it down by now etc..)
...synopsis:... Results May Vary; you guys are tight, and you kill. Don't stop doing what you are doing.....your day will come...soon.
Celia Gary; your voice, technique, and your ability to own the stage is an intangible that can't be taught....you have it......use it...
(honorable mention)...Bethany Kathleen;the piano song you played tonight was incredible....In my opinion,( and both of the other judges opinion) your voice was suited perfectly for the piano...try more of that....just sayin'
And the first place winners...Jesup Dolly; road warriors, who managed to channel Sunvolt, the Georgia Satellites and a bit of Merle Haggard, to give a winning performance....
Augusta is truly blessed to have such depth of talent exhibited by ALL the contestants involved.
A great day indeed....

perfectpitch2012
6
Points
perfectpitch2012 09/16/12 - 10:27 am
1
5
In response and to the judges

I followed this competition fairly closely. I have to say that I am disapointed in the outcome and then the judge's comment on here. First, as a musician, I originally thought that bands would have an unfair advantage over a single singer/songwriter...however, I held on to the fact that AMPed was originally publicized as a "SINGER/SONGWRITER" competition.
I listened to alllll the entries and I voted my favorites. I won't go into too many personal opinions on individual songs. The semi-finals, I felt were fairly good choices, with 2 or 3 stand outs...again, my opinion.

However, I couldn't help but notice that along the time of the semis, the contest begin to be renamed as the AMPed "Music" contest..what happened to singer/songwriter? Then we get to the finals. I admit that not all of my faves made it in, but there were a couple of very good songs (remember please that this competition was supposed to be about the songs and the ones who wrote them)
I was not surprised that the finals were a bit heavy on the side of bands.
Now the end results: A band wins it. With a song written under the band name. How does a fictional character actually write a song?What happens to this song when the band changes makeup or splits? How can this be done differently? Look at the Farris-Owens Project. This is a band, but the songwriter is Julie Farris. I will say, however, that The Farris-Owens Project is an exception to my usual band rule because Mrs. Farris sings the lead of her song and the band acts to accompany on this particular number. If you are going to allow bands...do it this way with the focus on the singer/songwriter (also a very good song that didnt get mentioned at all).

Now for the real reason that I am confused and disappointed: The winners were based on a 20 minute set! ummmmm.....does anyone remember that this competition started as a single song by singer/songwriters?

The judge, Mr. Roger Davis (whom I think is a great musician and songwriter himself) posted some things that increase the point of my initial despondency with this competition. I do not blast Mr. Davis, I just point out my disagreement so please don't think this is a personal bash of another musician or a judge.

How could anyone possibly pick the winner of a SINGER/SONGWRITER competition that was originally based on a single entry... by a 20 minute set and include things that overwhelmingly favor bands and/or a specific genre (I say this because as good as Ms Gary is...would she have held your attention as well if her style was different?). How can any judge say that, "I was impressed by... the fact that KIDS (to me anyway) could play together that well". Age is not an inherent factor in deciding who wrote the best song and who can get that song across to others effectively.

I have disagreed with how the Chronicle has handled this competition in the past and now. However, this year is a new low. The last issue of the Applause had one of the finalists on the cover. While that person did not win, I consider this marketing. In addition, the Band Jesup Dolly, which I have no personal issue towards, made sure to publicize their gigs and connections including opening for Driving and Crying the same week as the finalists were chosen. I think this is an intelligent strategy to win, but hardly fair in a singer/songwriter contest.

In fact, a singer/songwriter contest should look at the song. the layers, the meaning, the depth, the simplicity, the lyrical quality. In addition, the music should be considered...the layers, the tone, the quality of melody...but some songs are meant to be more lyrical and others more instrumentally melodic or involving. However...you do NOT look at the age of the contestant until it is over...you do NOT compare the tight harmonies of the band over the single voice with a guitar or piano...these are just different. Many competitions don't even allow but one additional instrument to accompany the singer.

Please Augusta Chronicle, either stop the farce or create different categories. In addition, decide if you want a highschool talent competition or an actual SINGER/SONGWRITER contest.

Conservative Man
5429
Points
Conservative Man 09/16/12 - 10:59 am
2
0
I don't envy the judges...

I was there yesterday (and being somewhat of an amateur musician myself) I was interested in the outcome.
Both Mr. Davis and perfectpitch2012 made some good points.The submissions to me anyway were a chance to hear the "song" and the contest was a chance to hear the "delivery" of said song...It sounds as if Roger was commenting more on the "contest" part which helped (or didn't help considering who you like) make the final decision, and perfect pitch is saying that the song sometimes gets lost in the "live performance".
While both aspects certainly are true, the fact remains that Mr. Uhles made it clear from the stage that it was nonetheless a very difficult decision for the judges....either way, this year, I didn't envy them their jobs....Bottom line to me,Lets be thankful that we have this much talent in Augusta and support them individually every chance we get....To me they are ALL winners....

heirtoruin
21
Points
heirtoruin 09/16/12 - 02:57 pm
4
0
Bands write songs.

Bands write songs. Songwriters. At least one person in the band sings the song. Sometimes there are harmonies. Singer(s).

ShowHat
7
Points
ShowHat 09/16/12 - 04:18 pm
3
0
Amped

As a member of one of the above mentioned bands, I have to take exception to the comment that we somehow managed to manipulate "connections" to publicize ourselves toward a victory. I have been writing and playing original music, mostly to almost empty rooms in Augusta for over twenty years. I obviously am not continuing to do this for all the money and support I receive, but because I love music and always put forth my best effort to entertain whoever might be there to enjoy music. The band was offered an opening slot for Drivin' and Cryin' recently completely out of the blue. We had no idea that band was coming to town, and furthermore, did nothing to manipulate connections in order to receive the honor of opening for such a legendary act. I believe we were asked to play based on our musical style and demographic which fits well with Drivin and Cryin'. Our band has been actively writing and recording original music as of late, and I would hope we were offered some opportunities based on our hard work and dedication to original music and professional performance.
I am absolutely 100% humbled( and I believe I speak for the entire band), to have received some recognition for this song( a group writing effort) and performance. I am very grateful to have been a participant alongside so much talent(all of the other performers- I watched each performance). For the record, although our song was recognized, I would have personally voted for Celia Gary to win for her song "Leaving Me Hanging" and her captivating live performance on Saturday's final. Thanks to all who participated, and thanks mostly to Augustans who came out to support Original Music by local musicians.

zumaboy
7
Points
zumaboy 09/16/12 - 07:05 pm
1
0
Well, nothing changes...

Every year someone's disappointed and their friends say that it's unfair...

travisp73
53
Points
travisp73 09/16/12 - 09:13 pm
1
0
It was only unjust one year.....

....when Ronnie Hill got screwed. But to complain and moan about bands being allowed makes people sound like babies. Heres a newsflash mr "perfect" .....bands do have members that are........wait for it.....its coming........SONGWRITERS! Rarely do bands get together and rehearse and POOF have a song just explode from thin air. ...And yes the contest has a voting method that allows you the chance to perform for 20 mins on a big stage with a nice crowd....the songwriters that "get it" use this time to show the people not just one but 4 or 5 songs that the "songwriters" have written.....HOW BORING WOULD THIS CONTEST BE IF EVERY SEMI FINALIST GOT ON STAGE WITH JUST AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR AND PLAYED THEIR ONE SONG? Im sorry you are put off by bands (that include songwriters).....Im sorry you had to endure 20 min sets by these songwriters....Might i suggest that next year you take up shop near the community stage and enjoy a little spoken word and such. Congrats to all that participated and especially the semi finalists. You are proof that there is talent in our tiny little town. Good job Jessup Dolly (fictional characters that you are). Man......Ronnie really got hosed.

travisp73
53
Points
travisp73 09/16/12 - 09:14 pm
0
0
perfectpitch2012
6
Points
perfectpitch2012 09/16/12 - 11:29 pm
0
0
the point is

Oh geeesh here we go. I took the time to make what I thought was a well thought out opinion that isnt "hateful" although it did contain my thoughts. In return I recieve a very nice post from a band member and contestant and a couple of slams. However, everyone missed the point.

To Jessup Dolly: I didn't say that you used connections to get a gig with Driving and Crying. I said that you used the opportunity. What I meant is that it is hard to take such an opportunity with your name on flyers, signs, internet sites, and your own sites...and not get positive publicity out of it. More people suddenly hear of a band that is good enough to be on stage with some big times names. The timing of it, though coincidence, could definately have made a positive push for the band in the competition. (I do not take away from the talent of the band nor the dues that you have all paid to get there..please forgive me if you have taken my comment as such)

What I meant about bands vs snger/songwriters is this: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. There is a difference between a band that delivers hot guitar, harmonies, etc, and the the presentation of a song by a single singer with a guitar. This contest began as a "SINGER/SONGWRITER" contest and evolved midway into a music contest.

Yes, bands have singers and bands have songwriters, but a contest that is listed as a singer songwriter contest should be just that. If it is a talent contest or "battle of the bands" I couldnt say anything.
I did not come on to bash a band. You band guys know what goes into writing a song...so therefore a song competition should be about the song..the addition of the "singer" part is the effort to get the song across effectively, not a live performance time that may or may not include choreography, lights, etc.

I hope I clarified my meaning. I mean no ill towards the winners or ay contestant. I simply have my own opinion. And...no, I did not know anyone in the contest.

rocklandwriter
52
Points
rocklandwriter 09/16/12 - 11:31 pm
0
0
WOW..... and not even a mention

not even an honorable mention of Julie Farris of the Farris Owens Project? They were by FAR the best sounding in this top 6 and one of three of the best sounding since the original 32 entries and had great lyrics. Great Harmony,smooth sound, and not a mention... and Bethany Kathleen, although she is young and a little unpolished sounded so much better than the winners.... so again, I say WOW!!! This was definately NOT a singer/songwriter contest, it was a "who is my favorite local band" by the judges..... and who is about my age who I may relate to?

for those of you who are slashing back at Perfect Pitch; bands write songs perhaps yet the contest here was for a Singer/Songwriter; not a band writing and playing; and even when a band may group together to write, you need to assign the song to a "songwriter", other members may be co-writers; but you dont credit it to a band,,, what if there are other bands by that name, do they now own your song? think about it!
I write, and I make sure that I get credit for what I write; not my band or anyone else.
That being the case, the in the future you should have a BAND contest and a real Singer/Songwriter contest.... then I may even consider entering!

travisp73
53
Points
travisp73 09/17/12 - 12:06 am
0
0
is this thread about the music contest......

.......or the Gerber contest?

lokalloudness
13
Points
lokalloudness 09/17/12 - 12:19 am
0
0
...relax...

...it's a talent contest where people can vote multiple times for only the songs that were submitted (hence the absence of very-talented songwriters who didn't submit so not every talented writer in the area was involved) and three HUMANS judge...come this following weekend everyone will be once again gearing up to play gigs in area venues and not a stadium supporting an internationally selling album...Augusta is loaded with talent...this was only a portion of it...perspective people...congrats to all the great people who participated and to those who made the finals...now on to something else...

zumaboy
7
Points
zumaboy 09/17/12 - 09:12 am
0
0
A great man once said, "If it

A great man once said, "If it was easy, everybody would be in a band..."

sidbrown
5
Points
sidbrown 09/17/12 - 12:12 pm
1
0
Results are in...

First of all I want to thank The Augusta Chronicle for putting on Amped! This has truely been an incredible opportunity for all of the contestants. My daughter Bethany Kathleen was one of the finalists. No doubt I would have liked to see her take home the first place. But the chance to be on stage at Art's in the Heart with all the other great talent was a win in itself. Do I agree with the judges choices? Of course not, Bethany was my favorite to win (big grin)! We all have our favorites as do the judges. Lets not bash the contest, judges, or The Chronicle just because we don't agree with the out come. Many times its the journey itself that matters and at least for my daughter this has been a good start to what she (and we) hopes is a long and enjoyable journey in music! This contest is good for the musicians who enter and for the community as it promotes performing arts! Thanks to all who made this possible! Hope to see more great talent next year!

RogerDavis
11
Points
RogerDavis 09/17/12 - 05:08 pm
0
0
Wow!

..I guess I started this by commenting in the first place!..lol. But, point of disclosure here. I knew no one in either band (except by reputation) nor had I ever met any of the solo acts.. I made it a point to listen to the songs the day before the competition so my impressions would be fresh at the time of the contest.... At that time I picked my faves based on the studio versions. But being a singer and musician more than a songwriter I (possibly erroneously), decided to see how well IMO the various acts "performed" the songs....To me this would be the deciding factor.... This being a subjective process insured there would be those who disagree, but I agree with "lokal, travis" and others who say that no matter what Augusta is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent. And I prefaced my earlier statements with this very sentiment....I will however agree with others who said that "full bands" seem to have an inherent advantage only because the "wow" factor is a bit higher....Ideally there would be a band competition and a separate "singer-sogwriter" competition....But we had to work with what we had....P.S I did not mean NOT to mention Ferris-Owens in my first critique...In fact their studio version of the song was absolutely fantastic, her voice was out of this world and the song was haunting and beautifully done,....I just thought it didn't come off as well live....again just my opinion....Anyhow. I'm just glad that people care this much about local music...so lets support any and ALL of these folks every chance we get.......

rocklandwriter
52
Points
rocklandwriter 09/17/12 - 10:21 pm
0
0
Bethany Kathleen's parent

Kudos to your daughter; she has so much potential, I read her bio that said she'd like to go into music therapy; having used this in the past with autism and aspbergher's syndrome children, I wish her all the best! Keep it up; you do shine, especially for your age!
I did not know any of the finalists, but I still thought that Julie Farris was a winner in my opinion; so if you read this, please keep moving toward getting your music promoted, you have a CD sale here!
I agree with some who say this is all about lots of local talent etc; and I agree it is great to have this type of event; just possibly really considering separating bands from solo artists or only allowing one other person to accompany you in your delivery of "said song" in the future, would even the tables out a lot for those who are singer/songwriters and not involved in doing big band gigs etc.. just food for thought, after all "Music is the Symphony of Life", (personal quote) and we all are in this cacophony together.

sidbrown
5
Points
sidbrown 09/18/12 - 11:13 am
0
0
Amazing Support

Thanks for all the support, votes and positive comments for Bethany Kathleen and all the other contestants as well. It is amazing to see this kind of support for local artists. In the past I have heard many negative comments about Augusta having a lack of appreciation for the arts and have to say that the Art's in the Heart festival, the Amped competition, and the passionate comments show just the opposite. For those who say there is "nothing to do in Augusta." I saw a fantastic bluegrass concert Friday night (Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder at the Imperial), excellent local art and dance Saturday afternoon, and listened to great local musical talent on the various stages around downtown Saturday Night...all in Augusta! Let's keep up the support for the local arts and have more of these kind of events.

Mary Frances Hendrix
80
Points
Mary Frances Hendrix 09/19/12 - 10:56 pm
0
0
AMPED all the way

Applause editor here --

I'd like to clarify for perfectpitch2012, who posted

"... AMPed was originally publicized as a "SINGER/SONGWRITER" competition" and "I couldn't help but notice that along the time of the semis, the contest begin to be renamed as the AMPed "Music" contest..what happened to singer/songwriter?"

What had been known for many years as The Augusta Chronicle Singer-Songwriter Contest was RENAMED this year to become AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest.

(Please see the story from June 19 announcing the new name when the contest was launched at http://chronicle.augusta.com/things-do/applause/2012-06-19/annual-singer...)

We had heard comments over the years that some musical groups thought having "singer-songwriter" in the name implied limitations as to who could enter the contest. Our goal in renaming it AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest is to welcome all musicians, whether as individual performers or as a group. The rules of the contest remain that the song entered must be an original work, which includes the "songwriter" aspect.

The song entry and online voting is what gets the contestants to the second and final rounds. The final round allows the six finalists to show the whole package to judges and give it all they've got -- including, but not limiting them, to the original song entry. It also gives them a valuable opportunity to perform on a large stage in front of a great audience.

We had terrific entries this year, great participation from online voters and a fantastic show at Arts in the Heart. I met all of the contestants Saturday and thanked them. All were thrilled to be there and ready to just go have fun.

We thank all who participated and look forward to next year. Your comments and suggestions are all welcome as we look to continue making AMPED better year after year.

lokalloudness
13
Points
lokalloudness 09/20/12 - 11:53 am
0
0
...to be considered...

...what I feel should most be considered is that such a contest allows people to participate...no matter experience level...for a young artist, or even an artist who has never experienced presenting their music outside of themselves, it is a great opportunity to get out into the musical world and get a taste of what it's like...that alone is a great thing...anyone can submit...and while that may create some entries that grind on the ears...as musicians, artists, and writers we ALL start somewhere...this contest allows for that and despite criticisms (which there always will be...nothing is perfect) I commend that and am happy that such a forum is out there...for young artists such as Bethany Kathleen and Celia Gary to be able to place their music side by side with seasons musicians such as the guys in Jesup Dolly and others is a great thing and a learning experience that ensures that the future of our great music community continues to grow and prosper year after year...the year I was fortunate enough to make the finals my band placed third behind a great band AND solo artist...and this year a solo artist appeared in the top 3 once again...obviously being in a band doesn't make for an total edge otherwise the top 3 would have been all bands...and it was said by members of Jesup Dolly that they wouldn't have been surprised if Celia Gary HAD won...so...musical strength...my only suggestion...with such a contest that is kicked off by original submissions - with a short set I would recommend that it be required for artists to perform all original sets...covers are for bars...I want to hear the musical scope of an artist...as much as they can present in 20 minutes...

megnarn
2
Points
megnarn 09/21/12 - 11:15 am
0
0
I loved the contest and

I loved the contest and thought the performers were great. I agree that I'd like to separate the bands from the single performers...if only to make it a more fair playing field.

What impresses me most is the support and respect that the artists have for each other. While the public is busy bashing the contest and judges, the performing artists are gracious and respectful in all ways. We could all learn a lesson!

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