Published on May 1st, 2020 | by Newt Rayburn

Week 1 Winner of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council & The Local Voice’s “Social Distancing Song Writing Competition” Announced

The votes are in and the first winner of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council & The Local Voice‘s “Social Distancing Song Writing Competition” is… Ryan Miller with his song “Kicking Cans”!

Week 1 featured the Mississippi songwriters Silas Reed with “The Way You Look Tonight”, Andrew Gordon with “Lately in Earlysville”, Tyler Huertas with “The Mirror”, and Ryan Miller.

Silas Reed received 21.6% of the vote, Tyler Huertas 31.5%, Andrew Gordon 4.6%, and Ryan Miller received the most votes with 42.3%.

Each artist submitted a homemade video of their songs being played live from home. The videos were then edited by Antonio Tarrell into one twenty minute program.

TLV and YAC then put the call out to Mississippi music fans to watch the program from a safe, social distance, and vote for their favorite song.

“The Social Distancing Songwriting Challenge is our way to support and highlight the talent in our region,” said Wayne Andrews, director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. “Each artist featured is receiving a mini grant from YAC through funds provided to the J.E. Pitts Artist Fund from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Cathead Vodka, and Mississippi Presenters Network. 

“We thank our partners The Local Voice and Antonio Tarrell Films who are supporting this effort with their technical expertise’s—other artists that these grant funds are able to help,” Andrews continued. “We hope you enjoy these wonderful songs.”

Voting for Week 2 of the Songwriting Challenge is now open. See who is being featured this week and vote for you favorite song here. The winners from each week will go head to head at the end the month for a grand prize.

Winner Week 1: Ryan Miller “Kicking Cans”

Watch Ryan’s video here.

Watch All the Songwriters in Week 1 Here

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About the Author

was born and grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, starting in 1971. Newt's many publishing projects led to THE LOCAL VOICE, which started in 2006. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, and later, Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE media company in March of 2006. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt Rayburn has been involved in the Ole Miss area for many years. Newt's alter ego—Neuter Cooter—lead the Mississippi band THE COOTERS to Rocknoll Glory across the USA from 1993-2018. Newt is proud Father of eight-year old daughter Alex.

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