Meet the 2015 Country Showdown Contestants
Ten contestants will be vying for the title of 97.3 The Dawg Country Showdown Champion, with the opportunity to move on to the state competition and the eventual chance at the national finals and a shot at the $100,000 grand prize.
The prizes given out on Saturday aren't too shabby either. The top three finishers will get a nice spread of goodies. Here's what is up for grabs.
- Champion -- First Place Plaque, Cowboy's Western Store gift certificate, 1 Month Vocal Coaching at Guitar Center ($100 value), AKG WMS40 Mini Handheld Wireless Mic from Guitar Center ($100 value)
- Runner-Up -- Second Place Plaque, Cowboy's Western Store gift certificate
- Third Place -- Third Place Plaque, Cowboy's Western Store gift certificate
Doors for the event will open at 7pm with the Showdown starting at 8pm. There will be a cover charge at the door. (No need to buy tickets in advance.)
The Country Showdown is proudly sponsored by our friends at Service Chevrolet Cadillac.
The quality of entries we received for this year's Showdown is arguably the best we've had! It was a tough task to trim down to the best ten, but our first round judges were able to get it done.
Let's meet this year's contestants.
Blake is a 17-year-old senior at Abbeville High School. He has been in chorus for six years and the musically Talented And Gifted program for four. Blake sings in various other school related events and contests such as 4-H University talent show, Beta District Day talent show, at banquets for entertainment, and more. Blake also sings with a nonprofit organization called Louisiana Kids. The organization gives young entertainers the opportunity to perform at different venues around the state and compete in competitions each year that allows performers to show their talent. Blake started the organization two years ago when his good friend, Koryn Hawthorne from NBC's The Voice, convinced him to join and sing a duet with her. He has loved being a part of the Louisiana Kids family ever since. This will be Blake's first time competing in the Showdown and is looking forward to just having fun up there and working the crowd.
Cypress Steel is a duo made up of Chris Baham and Daniel Baldridge. Chris is 32 years old originally from Port Barre but now resides in Scott with his wife Anna (who’s expecting twins). He’s been playing guitar since he was 13 years old. Chris also plays bass, drums and piano.
Daniel was born and raised in Opelousas. He played college football at Marshall University then later in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans for four years total. He did all this while playing guitar, writing country and blues songs.
Damian Roy Dalfrey is 31 years old. He lives in Carencro and has lived there all of his life. He is married to his beautiful wife Brittany. They have two boys, Davin (8) and Dash (1) and a great dane named Dude. Damian played many sports growing up and is a huge sports fan. His favorite team is the New Orleans Saints. When not playing golf, you can find him hanging out with family and friends on the weekends while cooking and listening to some good music. He is grateful for this opportunity and will give it his all!
Jessie is a singer songwriter from Delhi, Louisiana. She loves so many different artists that she’s not exactly sure what her sound is! She would though, love to be the girl version of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Jessie has her own band and they play a lot locally. She feels extremely blessed to get out and do what she loves and is very excited about the Country Showdown. You can check her out at www.jessielarae.com.
Josh Johnson was born in New Iberia, Louisiana on October 25th, 1988. After staying for a short while in his father's hometown of Basile as a child, he moved to a rural area of Eunice called Patasa, the place where his mother grew up, as did he. Josh was always very passionate about music. He began playing guitar at 16. A lover of Louisiana's Cajun french music, he began playing accordion at 17. He never sang in front of anyone until his early twenties. When a few close friends took notice, they encouraged him to sing more. Since then he has been sharing his music online in the form of Facebook and YouTube videos. Some of his favorite country artists include Keith Whitley, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, David Alan Coe, John Anderson, Ken Holloway, and Randy Travis, just to name a few.
Kevin Simon, Jr is a 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Youngsville, Louisiana. He is also a husband and father to two beautiful children. Growing up he has always been highly interested in music of all kinds. He picked up the guitar at age 15 and has never stopped playing since then. Kevin’s music is inspired by great artists such as Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. For this year’s song, he’s chosen to find inspiration from a family member who fought a battle that unfortunately too many kids have to face. Although there is loss, this song is an example of how music can help many relive wonderful memories we have shared with our loved ones.
Roxy Comardelle, 20, a native from Westwego, LA and Holly Laviolette, 23, a native from Avondale, LA have been singing throughout the Louisiana and Mississippi areas for years. With Holly and Roxy both having strong country roots, their voice teacher heard what could be a great partnership. They were unsure how they would sound when together; however, when they posted a video of them singing to get feedback, the response was overwhelming. They formed Luzi-Ann in early 2015, and they've accomplished more together than they ever dreamed. The journey is only beginning for this duo!
Matt is an 18-year-old from Opelousas, Louisiana and a 2015 graduate of Beau Chene High School. He will be starting college in the fall. Matt comes from a long line of musicians. His great grandfather and grandfather were gospel players and singers, while his father Keith James is one of the founders of the James Younger Band and the Lonesome Drifters. He is a newcomer on the music scene starting his public appearances in the spring of 2015. Matt is an old soul in a young body when it comes to music. His love of music comes from his family roots and his influences come before his time in the form of Hank, Sr., Johnny Cash, Elvis, Conway Twitty just to name a few.
Sue is 24 years old and resides in Taylor, Arkansas with her husband Chase and their beautiful daughter Kenzie Lou. She was raised on old country music, a little Bob Seger, and a lot of heavenly highway hymns. Growing up in Canfield, Arkansas, Sue Ellen’s family had a bluegrass band. They would sing at churches and benefits. A lot of her childhood memories consist of hunting, cattle, guitars, cornbread and peas at Nanny’s house and being in love with her grandparent’s place on the Red River. Sue Ellen has been to Nashville a few times and even made a record there. But it wasn’t the songs she wanted to sing. She writes her own songs now and just wants to sing about the simple life – hunting, cattle, family and the good Lord. That’s her life. The simple one. She knows who she is and is proud of it!
Triston was born in Lafayette on April 12, 1996. He has always been in love with music ever since he first heard his cousin Rickey play and sing. He’s been hooked ever since. Triston has met some great people and has had some great experiences. He started to get off track with his music about a year ago as it was hard playing shows and working. Luckily, his buddy Blake Q talked some sense into him. Triston loves playing music in his hometown. It’s where the original music originates.