Georgiana Opry House holds second annual talent show

By Amy Lewis

The Georgiana Opry House hosted the second annual Hank Williams Sr. Talent Showcase on May 4, featuring six finalists chosen from among dozens of applicants. The event, which honors Hank Williams Sr., who performed at the venue when he was just 16-years-old, aims to provide local youth with opportunities to meet industry professionals and showcase their talent.

“We started the contest in honor of Hank who played here at 16 years old,” said Opry House owner Tracy Eason. “We decided that we needed another local legend and our young people don’t have a lot of opportunities to do things like meet industry people. This talent showcase is to honor him playing here at 16 and give some of our kids an opportunity to be heard.”

The judges for the contest included Jim Vest, a renowned producer and musician, Leon Everette, a star since the 1980s, Lynn Owsley, a steel guitar player in the Nashville All-Star Hall of Fame and Ashton Shepherd, who started her own country music career in talent contests.

The finalists, who came from various locations including New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Sampson, Tuscaloosa, Luverne and beyond, spent the week before the showcase getting to know each other and learning about various aspects of performing, from lighting and sound to image consulting. After a limo ride through town, The six finalists opened the show with a group number, covering “Angel from Montgomery.”

Everette, a country music legend, expressed his admiration for the event and its historical significance. 

“This thing just blew me away, especially when you get to know the history of it,” Everette said. “Tracy’s such a great host, and she really wants to preserve this thing for what it is. If you’re a Hank Williams Sr. fan, or if you’re just a country music fan, you should come here. This is part of history right here.”

Everette, who also served as a judge last year, was honored to return for this year’s event. 

“Last year I was a judge and they asked me to come back again this year, and I’m just honored to be here,” Everette said. “I just love this place.”

The winners of the showcase were announced at the event with Mason Browder taking third place, Summer Waters of Luverne taking second place, and Brant McCollough claiming the first place title. The first prize includes the opportunity to work with Grace Records in Nashville to record a single with producer Pat Holt, along with social media exposure, a spotlight in a major industry publication and a cash prize to cover travel expenses.