Top finishers announced in Bobby Martin Young Songwriters Competition
WILKESBORO — Gabriella Pasqua, 13, of Woodstown, New Jersey, won the second annual Bobby Martin Young Songwriters Competition held this past weekend at the Carolina in the Fall Music & Food Festival in Wilkesboro.
Martin, a Salisbury native and 1975 graduate of West Rowan High School, died of cancer April 13, 2016. As a bluegrass musician. he could play several instruments, but he made his mark with the canjon drum, a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru.
Martin’s friend, Deb Goodman, founded the songwriters competition, and the final field of 10 bluegrass contestants played their original songs for a three-judge panel Saturday.
The fourth annual festival was held in downtown Wilkesboro and was hosted by the Kruger Brothers.
Contestants had to be 20 or younger, and they included Pasqua; Liam Purcell of Deep Gap; Luke Morris of Galax, Virginia; Jessica Lang of Raleigh; Elizabeth Carter of Rhonda; Sydney Wray of Greensboro; Jaiden Strange of Blacksburg, Virginia; Aubreana Lovell of Ashe County; Tori Jones of Salisbury; and Jasmine Rosarion of Yadkinville.
Pasqua played a ukelele and performed her song “Secrets.” She won the opportunity to record and mix her song with the Kruger Brothers at their studio, which is home of Double Time Music.
There also was a $200 cash prize.
Morris, 18, took second place and performed his song “She’s Stolen My Mind,” accompanied by Madison Elmore on the fiddle.
Morris released his first CD this year, “Further Down the Line,” and he plays professionally with ShadowGrass. He sings and plays mandolin. He received a trophy and $100 cash prize.
Strange, 15, captured third place and performed her song “Phoenix Feathers.”
The competition was held at Great State Auction House Stage.
Purcell, Morris, Lang, Jones and Rosarion “were all kids that Bobby spent much time with, nurturing them in Appalachian music and growing with their music,” Goodman said. “Bobby was oftentimes found playing with them at different festivals and on stage.”
Judges for the competition were Uwe Kruger, guitarist and songwriter for the Kruger Brothers and a longtime friend of Martin; Jay Nash, who lives in Vermont, writes songs and performs with The Contenders; and Mike Matheny, a longtime music educator and radio personality.
Martin was the son of Sam and Ruth Martin of Rowan County. His sister, Glenda Martin-Fuller, attended Saturday’s Young Songwriters Competition.