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LHS grad wins NewSong contest

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Singer-songwriter Arthur Alligood, a 1997 Lebanon High grad, took away the grand prize Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Mountain Stage NewSong contest in New York City.

In view of all the amazing songwriters and artists there, it was pretty shocking, Alligood said of his victory. I thought I did well, but there were just so many talented people from across the world there. I wasnt really planning on winning.

Among his rewards for taking top honors, Alligood will record an EP (extended play disc) with hit songwriter and producer Mikal Blue, who has worked with the likes of Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Five for Fighting, One Republic, Augustana, Jason Reeves and current indie fave Lady Danville. The disc will be released on Brooklyns NewSong Recordings label. He also will perform on the West Virginia radio show Mountain Stage that airs internationally on National Public Radio.

A part of Alligoods inspiration may have been his moms home cooking.

I told him, If you win, Ill bake you a chicken pot pie, and I will bake the judges one too, said his mother, Bertie Alligood, assistant principal at Mt. Juliets Lakeview Elementary.

Apparently the word got around. After he won, one of the judges told Arthur he wanted his pie.

Her reaction when he called home to tell he had won?

The same reaction when he told me he was having twins: I didnt believe itno way. Its been a long time coming. Hes worked hard. He and his wife, Tracy, theyve sacrificed a lot for this. Were very proud of him. Hes a good boy.

Alligood, 32, moved with his family to Wilson County when he was 4 and grew up in Watertown and Lebanon. Now living in White House, he and Tracy, a special education teacher in Sumner County, have three daughters.

At Thursdays semifinals and final round, he performed three of his original songs, accompanying himself on his guitar.

Actually, it was my wifes Ibanez guitar. She lets me borrow it, he said with a laugh. Everyone involved in the contest writes their own material. It is really catered to the songwriter.

Arthur is exactly the kind of artist I was hoping to meet through the NewSong contest. said producer Blue, who will record the project in his Los Angeles studio. While remaining very true to his art, his lyrical and melodic sensibilities make his songs very accessible, and his rich vocal tone captivates the listener. I cant wait to see what we come up with in my studio!

NewSong Co-Founder and Director Gar Ragland said, Arthur was selected from among over 2,000 entries to become this years grand prize winner of the 10th annual Mountain Stage NewSong Contest. His songs are characterized by poetic lyrics and strong, memorable melodies, and he delivers them with a authenticity and connection that deeply engages the listener. This combination of strong performance and songwriting ultimately separated him from the rest of the finalists.

Alligood began playing guitar and songwriting at 16 or 17.

I remember getting a guitar and wanting to make up little songs, kind of an instinctive thing, he said. I went through a phase of wanting to learn other peoples songs, cover songs, but for the most part I wanted to write my own stuff.

He describe his style as a little mix of folk, and Im really going through a phase of old country music and being influenced by people like Hank Williams. I really respect a lot of that music, roots music really, the kind of foundation of what we know as rock and blues. Most of it just comes from early gospel, and I love that stuff too.

The week before the contest in the Big Apple, Alligood performed in California and Nebraska, and he will play Nashville on Nov. 12 and Cookeville on Nov. 15.

The singer-songwriter holds a degree in interdisciplinary studies from Tennessee State University. He has served as a music minister at several Middle Tennessee churches and worked last year as a substitute teacher in Metro Nashville schools.

Alligood said of his goals, I dont have any grand view of fame or any of that. I just would love to make records and see that my family is provided for.
By KEN BECK, The Wilson Post / kbtag2@gmail.com.

NOTE-- Lebanons Arthur Alligood performs at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Dewey House Show in Nashville and at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Backdoor Playhouse at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tenn. He has recorded five discs: Live at Para Coffee, I Have Not Seen the Wind, Full Circle, Under the Gray and Formerly. For more info, go online to www.arthuralligood.com.
For more info about NewSong Music and Mountain Stage, go to newsong-music.com and www.mountainstage.org

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