From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
An Oklahoma country band is hoping musical madness online will lead to a big break in the music industry.
CMT.com has kicked off voting for its fourth annual Music City Madness. The top 64 finalists for the annual online talent search have been revealed and must now compete for votes in a single-elimination tournament over the next eight weeks. The finalists are unsigned artists from 28 states across the U.S., and their song subjects range from honky tonks and Texas to loving and leaving.
Representing Oklahoma is the Ardmore-based band Rush Springs with the song “Chasing That Green Light.” The band includes Beckie Jo Spradling, lead vocals; Walton McMurry, drums and backup vocals; and Wenona “Nonie” Taliaferro, guitar and backup vocals.
The contemporary country trio entered the online contest on a whim, Taliaferro said, and was thrilled to be selected.
“I was like running through my office hollering. … You could have heard me a mile away,” said Taliaferro, who works for Warehouse Service Inc. in Ardmore. “(I’m) jumping for joy, but I’m definitely shocked.”
Rush Springs has been playing together for about four years. But Taliaferro and Spradling have been making music together for a solid decade; Spradling is Taliaferro’s daughter-in-law.
The bandmates see the contest as a big opportunity. They will find out Monday whether they have advanced to the next round in the fan-voted contest.
“We’d love to get signed. Music is definitely our passion,” Taliaferro said. “That’s what we’ve been shooting for, that big record deal.”
Music City Madness offers up-and-coming country artists a chance to showcase their talent and let fans narrow the field in an online tournament-style battle of the bands. One lucky winner will take home the title and win a chance to audition for label executives at The Valory Music Co. The victor also will earn a trip to CMT in Nashville, Tenn., to record “Studio 330 Sessions” and have a backstage experience with Valory artist and Oklahoma native Reba McEntire at one of her concerts.
McEntire serves as an online mentor and will provide exclusive insight for the contestants via CMT.com video blogs, offering up tips from how to create a music video to building a music career. CMT also has added star participants Jack Ingram, Jewel, Justin Moore and Jimmy Wayne, who will support contestants throughout the competition. Music City Madness is sponsored by Rhapsody.
Go online to www.madness.CMT. com to stream each of the top 64 contenders and vote, or to learn more about Music City Madness.