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Awaiting Stardom

By DAVE SCHEIBER

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 24, 2000


 Hear:

Eversoll: String of pearls

Rhonda Towns: Slow rain

Wheels: That's what I call Love

Linda Terry: Freeway Bound

To play the audio you will need the free QuickTime player for Windows or Macintosh.

Scott Eversoll

A resident of Phoenix, Eversoll has a rich, traditional-sounding voice reminiscent of one of his musical heroes, Randy Travis.

Background: Father was a sax player in Ike and Tina Turner's band. Became serious about country music in the late '80s after a stint in the Marine Corps. Represented by veteran Nashville songwriter and publisher Michael Kosser. Signature song is What Color Am I?, a virtual anthem of the BCMA.

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Scott Eversoll

Highlight: Eversoll can be heard singing on the radio during a scene in the Paul Newman movie Where the Money Is.

Quote: "If you have a talent, and if you have something that is legitimately on the level of the artists in any genre of music -- jazz, rap or whatever -- I think you should at least be afforded the opportunity. You have to be as good as the people in there. I think it's like the thing with Charley Pride. Charley Pride was black, but when he opened up his mouth, he was country. People didn't care."

Rhonda Towns

Towns grew up in Alabama, immersed in church choir singing and country music. She has a strong stage presence and a voice with an engaging country texture a la Loretta Lynn. It is showcased on a four-song CD produced by Norro Wilson, who oversaw Shania Twain's first CD.

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Rhonda Towns
Background: Resident of Arizona. Got her big break in 1994 winning the first round on Star Search singing a Wynonna song. Was Whitney Houston's stand-in in Waiting to Exhale. Received national exposure on the Nashville Network's Crook & Chase show. Recently performed in 16th annual International Country Music Festival in Zurich.

Highlight: Towns and her music will be featured May 18 on Black Entertainment Television during its Live From LA segment.

Quote: "A lot of people say this girl should've been out there four years ago, but at the same time, it's out of the norm -- it hasn't been done before. Maybe it might be a thing where they don't know how to promote or put out a black female country singer, but I feel like someone should just go on ahead and just do it. Because I think that I have proven that I can do this."

Wheels

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Wheels

The six-piece band from Alabama has a rich vocal blend tinged with an R&B; sound and is known for its dynamic stage performances from Nashville to Europe.

Background: Appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough a year ago after completing a full CD for Asylum Records. Before the album was released, a new president took over the label and dropped Wheels and several other acts from the roster. May try luck overseas if it can't break through in the United States soon.

Highlight: Strong management from music industry veteran Billy Truitt and undying support of Frankie Staton.

Quote: "We've been getting a great response, and we have some very good people working for us," says lead singer Avery Carr. "We still feel good about our chances."

Missy Green

The Miami resident's strong stage presence and vocal promise was enough to catch the interest of Bob Doyle, part of the management company connected with Garth Brooks.

Background: Attended Vero Beach High School. Loved Reba McEntire and the country queen's stage persona. Heard about BCMA and was encouraged by Frankie Staton to perform at the organization's club shows in Nashville. Made a music contact while modeling on TNN's Crook & Chase show, getting her demo tape into the hands of established producers Bob Doyle and Lana Thrasher. Gaining valuable studio singing experience with Doyle and Thrasher.

Highlight: Performing at the BCMA's showcase at the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

Quote: "I've always been heading to Nashville. All through high school and college, I was the one who was singing country songs, and my friends have always thought I was weird. As far as my stage ability goes, I feel great. But I need more work recording, and that's what I'm concentrating on. I have this feeling that as soon as (a black artist) breaks in, I may have my chance."

Carl Ray

Belting It Out
African-American country music artists have no greater champion than Frankie Staton, the human whirlwind behind a new movement in Nashville.

African-Americans and country music
Did you know?

The Houston singer-songwriter, born on a Texas cattle ranch, is known for his warm, Vince Gill-like vocals, outgoing nature and strong stage presence. He maintains a first-rate Web site that contains a variety of links related to black country music.

Background: Created publishing company with wife to produce his debut album, I Love Country Music. Wrote all eight songs on the CD. Lives with family (including a young daughter and son) in the Tulsa, Okla., area, becoming a regular on local music scene.

Highlight: Performed shows around the country in 1999 and participated in his second Fan Fair.

Quote: "One day, while I was tired and frustrated, I looked up to the heavens and asked, "Please show me somebody that can help me write. Show me the road I need to take.' I went on the Internet and began searching, entering a few key words. And there on the screen appeared an article about the BCMA, Black Country Music Association, and what they were doing in Nashville." -- an excerpt from Carl Ray's Web site.

Trini Triggs

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Trini Triggs
The newest African-American singer with a chance to latch on in country music is a muscular, outgoing family man from Natchitoches, La. Triggs is making his run on Curb Records, and can be seen in his video, The Wreckin’ Crew. He made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry last year, in a duet with Charley Pride. Three weeks ago, he made his solo debut at the Opry.

Background: Released a single and video for Curb in 1998, Straight Tequila. Inducted into the Louisiana Country Music Hall of Fame. Married with two daughters. Named by his mother for singer Trini Lopez. Favorite hobby is weight lifting. Musical influences are Pride, Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie. Web address is http://www.trinitriggs.com

Highlight: To audition for label chief Mike Curb, Triggs had to sing along to his demo tape in a small room filled with 18 label officials — as Curb turned the volume way up, then way down, to test the singer’s range.

Quote: Is there added pressure on him as a black country singer? “I try not to dwell on it, because I have never run into any obstacles. I’ve been treated well by radio, and media. I just need those songs that will open the door for me, and if I can get through the door, it could make people believe that other (black) singers can do it. They just need the right chance and the right songs.”

Quick hits

Andrew Summers: The singer from Wichita, Kan., won a Nashville Star Seek talent contest; sounds like Sam Cooke doing country; did a well-received independent album that has received good airplay in Germany.

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Dwight Quick

Dwight Quick: A talented singer-songwriter from North Carolina, who has created excitement in the BCMA with his traditional style, with touches of Clint Black and Alan Jackson.

Linda Terry: The singer from Tacoma, Wash., always dreamed of singing country music. Her tune Freeway Bound is being played heavily in France. Won a Christian Country Music Award and earned a standing ovation at a BCMA showcase.

Kerr Alexander: Alexander, an Orlando resident, has a rich, soulful baritone and is nicknamed the Buffalo Cowboy. He is moving to Nashville in June and will be an assistant Webmaster for the BCMA Internet site, now in the works.

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Vicky Vann

Vicky Vann: Vann, a Los Angeles resident, is from a musical background. Her father helped start the Mighty Clouds of Joy. She is a model and singer-songwriter with a soft, high voice in the mold of Alison Krauss.

 

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