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Wildhorse Saloon House Band Competition story

The first night of competition of the World-Famous Wildhorse Saloon House Band Search Competition was all about energy—the crowd brought it, and each band brought it. The audience really got into the competition, as they crowded the dance floor and cheered for their favorite performers. Five amazing bands competed for the finalist slot, but it was Pamela K. Ward who won over the audience and judges, securing a spot in the live finale on May 26. The Wildhorse was definitely the place to be in Music City Monday night.

Nashville, Tennessee’s mecca of live entertainment is once again in hot pursuit of its next top band, a prime position that is highly coveted in Music City. The Wildhorse Saloon has kicked off its second annual World-Famous Wildhorse Saloon House Band Search Competition, a nationwide search for the band that will become the face of the legendary venue, allowing the opportunity to open for national acts in front of sell-out crowds and to possibly get discovered by music industry insiders. And once again this year, a few well-known faces will be a part of the event, including Ira Dean, formerly of the hot country band Trick Pony, who will serve on the panel of judges, as well as “hick-hop” country artist Cowboy Troy, who is returning as the event’s emcee.

“I’m over-the-top excited about working with the Wildhorse Saloon and to be hosting the contest for the second year,” said Cowboy Troy. “I’m certain this year’s crop of bands will impress the fans just like last year. The fans actually help decide who wins, so they will love being a part of the competition!”

Cowboy Troy said the fun competition was “very exciting” last year, and people from all over the country bring talent and variety to the competition.

“They play standards and originals that make you pay attention,” he noted. “Some are totally country, but some have a rock tinge, southern rock, and some play classic rock tunes as well. The winner will open for a national act, so they do need to be pretty versatile.”

Last year’s contest winner, country-rock band The J.C. Andersen Band, was named the Wildhorse Saloon house band in an intense and exciting round of competitions that took place in front of standing-room-only crowds. Andersen and his band went on to open for country star Collin Raye, ‘80s hit band Loverboy and singer-songwriter megastars Jeffrey Steele and Ira Dean, all at the Wildhorse last year. Part of their winnings also included a showcase in front of record label executives, as well as playing in front of a live audience every night.

This year’s winning band will join the ranks of nationally known country acts Trick Pony, Ricochet and Lonestar, who all called the Wildhorse Saloon home before being signed to music labels in Nashville. The judges of the World-Famous Wildhorse Saloon House Band Search Competition will be looking for bands that can play a large repertoire of country and rock cover songs, plus an original selection, energetic enough to get the crowd out of their seats and onto the largest dance floor in town—line dancing, two-stepping and rocking to great music.

Cowboy Troy said the public is encouraged to come out for the live shows that will ultimately name the Wildhorse’s new house band, since the crowd response helps judges to determine the winner. Several bands included in this year’s competition have local followings, which translate into big crowds and deafening endorsements.

“I suggest people find out what time the line dancing lessons start, around 6:30 p.m., and start lining up then,” Cowboy Troy said. “It’ll get pretty crowded pretty fast.”

The World-Famous Wildhorse Saloon House Band Search Competition is a five-series event with four competition dates that narrow down contestants for the final competition. The event kicked off Monday, April 5, and continues Monday, April 19; Monday, May 3; and Monday, May 17.

The live finale takes place Wednesday, May 26, 2010. For more information visit www.wildhorsesaloon.com or call 615-902-8211.

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