Staff Report, Lake City Reporter, August 24, 2021, “O’Brien man places in songwriting contest: Wingate one of nine finalists from across the southeast.” [See also Valdosta Today.]
VALDOSTA — Chosen from a record number of finalists, an O’Brien man was one of three winners named Saturday night at the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.
Out of the nine finalists that competed at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts’ Art Park, O’Brien’s KJ Wingate won for the best song from inside the Suwannee River basin. Wingate won a $50 prize from the WWALS Watershed Coalition for his folk/country song, “The Hymn of Convict Spring.”
Lake City Reporter, KJ Wingate, Rachel Grubb
Finalists that competed in the fourth annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting contest included O’Brien’s KJ Wingate (from left), Katherine Ball, David Rodock, Sweet William Billy Ennis, Jimi Davies and his brother, Kathy Lou Gilman and Rachel Hillman. Not pictured are Brandon Fox and Lake City’s Rachel Grubb, who could not attend. Angela Duncan Courtesy of WWALS.
Other winners Saturday included Atlanta’s Jimi Davies for the best song from outside the basin with a blues/rock/country song, “Dark Water.”
Palatka’s “Sweet William” Billy Ennis was the grand prize winner with a folk entry, “Flat Bottom Boats.” Ennis won $300 and $300 worth of recording time.
Ennis was also a finalist last year.
Among the finalists included was Lake City’s Rachel Grubb, who had an indie folk song, “Cruising down the Suwannee.”
Grubb was unable to attend Saturday night, but was still awarded a plaque.
Founded in 2012, WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Al[a]p[a]ha, Little, Santa Fe[,] and Suwannee river watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring and citizen activities.
John S. Quarterman is the Suwanee Riverkeeper, a staff member and project of WWALS as a member of Waterkeeper Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.
Here is video of KJ Wingate singing by JJ Rolle for WWALS:
Thanks to Jim Tatum for the heads-up about the Lake City Reporter article.