Remember, Stephen C. Foster never saw the Suwannee River before he made it famous in his song. So at its meeting last week, the Songwriting Committee decided to have two categories: submissions from within the Suwannee River Basin, and submissions from anywhere else in the world.
Come on down to the Crossroads Sunday afternoon and help us decide more about the First Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:
When: 1PM Sunday, February 18, 2018
Where: Crossroads Market & Grill, Inc., 5463 State Rd 6 West, Jasper, FL 32052
What: WWALS Songwriting Committee meeting to plan the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest. You do not have to be a Committee member to come to the meeting, but if you want to be on the internal forums where decisions are also made, you can apply to join the Committee.
The Story So Far
Decisions and discussions so far include:
When: Summer 2018, probably in June.
Where: The top contender is Cedar Key.
What to submit: Lyrics and sound (mp3) about any river, creek, spring, sink, swamp, or pond in the Suwannee River Basin (except not the Santa Fe River nor creeks, sinks, etc. on it, because it has its own contest). Nature, people, or events, are all good.
The Committee decided to invite submissions from every genre on this extensive music genres list, from Art Punk to Zydeco. Hip hop, K-pop, rock, reggae, R&B, and solo cello classical are all invited, among many others, including of course folk and country. You can even sing a capella, and if you’re really brave, maybe recite poetry. But remember that while lyrics are the most important aspect, this is a songwriting contest, so playing an instrument would be good.
What not to submit: Avoid politics, religion, or flamingos. While we’d be hard put to reject Robert Johnson’s Crossroads (if it mentioned one of our rivers), it is just a tad religious. While Butch Hancock’s Give Them Water is a great a capella song, it is more than a bit political. Do we have to explain why not flamingos?
And please don’t just cover somebody else’s song: while Ray Charles’ Swanee River Rock is nice, the lyrics were already known.
How to submit: Ready to submit a song? Well, soon, the Committee is still working out the details.
Before the event: Submissions will be narrowed down to half a dozen or so, in two categories: from within the Basin, and from elsewhere.
The event: Finalists will perform live, and judges will decide. Contestants and especially winners will get prizes. Food, song, sunshine, and a fine time.
Do you want to be a judge, or suggest who should be? Let us know.
Format: If the format sounds familiar, that’s because we are shamelessly copying the long-running Our Santa Fe River Songwriting Contest, which we recommend you also attend. The rivers are different, and the winners will get prizes.
We may make format changes because Cedar Key is far to go and people love any reason to stay there for a weekend.
You do need to be present to win. However, you do not have to sing your own song: you can have somebody else do that for you.
Come to the WWALS Songwriting Committee meeting on February 18th and help decide how we will pick some more songs about our rivers!
Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia, which is in the Flint River watershed, but if he had submitted this song, we certainly would have considered it, although the lyrics seem somehow maybe too familiar. Take it away, Ray:
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!