Headliners Selected for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest


Hahira, Georgia, July 8, 2019 — Before the judges pick the winners at the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Joe Smothers of Valdosta will lead off, followed by last year’s winner, Laura D’Alisera of Jacksonville, FL. Radio personality Chris Beckham of Tifton, GA, will M.C. Submit your song by Friday, or just get some tickets and come and listen!

Joe Smothers and Laura D’Alisera

Joe Smothers is from Reidsville, NC, and lives in Valdosta, where he often plays The Salty Snapper, with a second home in Cortez, FL, with his wife Murphy. Joe got his first guitar when his mom Betty purchased a Stella at the local pawn shop when he was thirteen. One morning Joe’s dad JM called him to the TV to see a blind guitar player on a local channel in Raleigh, NC. The man’s name was Doc Watson. Little did either one of them know that years down the road Joe would have the honor of becoming a member of Doc and Merle Watson’s band, Frosty Morn. Years of touring and more than a dozen albums with Doc, forged a relationship of deep respect. Joe has performed at every Merle Fest (26) and was also asked to be a performer at Doc’s funeral. After time off to raise his children, Joe is back making music.

Laura D’Alisera is from Albuquerque, NM, and lives in Jacksonville, where she manages the Jacksonville Songwriters Group and plays frequently around the area. She is a Singer/Songwriter, inspired by folk, Americana and bluegrass. Harmony is her forte. She loves the stylings of the Carter Family, EmmyLou Harris, and Linda Rondstadt. She liked winning last year’s contest so much she joined the organizing committee for this year, and she played the Paddle Georgia Final Feast.

About the Second Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:

Tickets are $10 online or $12 at the door. Or $150 per eight-seat VIP table right in front of the stage. Everything about the contest is online here:


Sponsoring the contest is a great opportunity for businesses and individuals to get their name in publicity about the Contest, from radio and TV and newspaper interviews and public interest spots, to a banner to hang at your place of business, to a banner at the event and a mention in the program. Help support clean water advocacy and get more people to see your business. Georgia Beer Company is the top-level sponsor, and The Battery Source is a sponsor.

[Sponsor package]
Sponsor package

Songs should be submitted by Friday, July 12, 2019. The entry form is online, for your song lyrics and information about the song and to introduce you if you become a finalist. Every musical genre is welcome, and anything from spoken word or a capella to bands. You can send your song as an electronic file or on a USB stick or CD.

Photo: of the Songwriting Contest Committee: Tom H. Johnson Jr., last year’s winner Laura D’Alisera, Committee Chair Scotti Jay, Lead Water Quality Tester Sara Jay, Mary Caroline Pindar, Eileen Box, and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman 2019-06-23, Live Oak, FL

The Contest Committee will choose half a dozen finalists according to criteria such as that they’re really about some of our waters in the Suwannee River Basin. Finalists will be announced Saturday, August 10, 2019.

The contest is from 1 to 5 PM, Saturday, August 24, 2019, at The Salty Snapper, 1405 Gornto Rd,. Valdosta, Georgia. You must be present to win. You do not have to sing, but you do have to be onstage with your song’s performance, rattling a tambourine or whatever. All finalists must arrive by 11 AM for sound check.

Radio personality Chris Beckham will be the Master of Ceremonies, as musicians play, the finalists perform, three judges deliberate, we all talk about outings and advocacy, and, finally, the winners are announced. Then the winners play some more.

New this year: there will be one or more youth winners under 18 years old.

The first prize is $300. Prizes of $50 each will go to one winner from within the Suwannee River Basin, and one from without. Plus one winner per musical genre.

There will be a silent auction, a kayak raffle, and a cash bar, and the snacks are included. At 4 PM you can order from the Salty Snapper menu as well, if you like.

WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Founded in June 2012, WWALS has board members from multiple counties in south Georgia and north Florida, and members from all over the Suwannee River Basin and from farther away. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
WWALS Watershed Coalition
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632