Jeremy Francis with his First Place handmade trophy plaque by Tom Burkhart.
THE JOHN HARTFORD MEMORIAL FESTIVAL SONGWRITING CONTEST 2015 WE ARE TICKLED TO ANNOUNCE OUR TOP TEN WINNERS FOR THE 2015 SONG WRITING CONTEST. WELL, ELEVEN IN THIS CASE SINCE WE HAD A TIE FOR TENTH, BUT..........WE ARE LAID BACK.
Congratulations to Jeremy Francis of Loveland, OH, for winning first place in our Songwriting Contest with his song, "Life By a River". He also took home a beautiful trophy by Tom Burkhart, a hand made beaded necklace by Cloud Shadow Jewelry, Peaceful Bend Wine and performed his song on the Hartford stage.
Jeremy Francis, a 39 year old husband and father, is a CT Scan Technologist at Ft. Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, OH.
Jeremy had this to say about songwriting, picking and life; “My song 'Life By A River' is the true account of how I fell in love with John Hartford's music. I have some friends in Oxford that really influenced me to delve deeper into acoustic music, country, bluegrass, old-time, jazz and blues. I was a casual Hartford listener before I started pickin' with them. One jam in particular really changed that for me. Like the song says my friend Zac played 'Vamp In The Middle' and I was immediately enamored. I started learning all kinds of Hartford tunes and seeking out his music. How cool... Look what it has turned into!
My second job is music, I play out just about every weekend all around Cincinnati. As a songwriter I don't ever see things slowing down. Sometimes I write more than others, but its always there. I think at this point my goal is to ramp it up even more, more practice, gigs, more writing, recording and some local and regional touring. Music is all I want to do and winning the JHMF songwriting contest this year has given me the confidence boost that I need to keep pushing and achieve my dreams and goals!
My biggest influences in songwriting are John Hartford of course, Ryan Adams, Kelly Joe Phelps, Darrell Scott and Tim O'Brien. They all inspire my song writing. I have a hard time writing story songs so if Im stuck I definitely listen to these guys for inspiration. (video courtesy of My Tall Tripod) I tend to write more off the cuff, emotionally most of the time. Usually about a moment in time, a feeling or something I felt strongly about. Random poetry has a way of turning into songs for me a lot. Sometimes it comes from a guitar riff but often after I find a good hook or a strong chorus line to write around. Melody just falls into place during my re-writing and practicing of the song.
I feel great! Validation and recognition is something that every artist needs. It makes me feel that all of the daydreaming about being a full time musician isn't so silly. It has also inspired me to keep practicing and digging in the ditches to achieve my musical goals. This is one of the best festivals that I have ever been to. Not only is it in memory of one of my biggest musical influences, its also very friendly and super laid back. I've made some great friends and memories at JHMF! Bill Monroe Music park is a beautiful location and the campfire jams are stellar... If you haven't been you'er really missing out." Jeremy Francis