Milsap provided country music with one of its most important voices as it moved from its rural roots into mainstream modern entertainment. Steeped in the mountain music of the North Carolina hills and schooled in classical piano, he found inspiration in a variety of music from early in his life. Milsap said that even as he mastered Beethoven and Mozart, his heart belonged to hardcore country and rhythm-and-blues — music he heard from powerful radio stations in Nashville. He explained that its earthy sounds about life and love provided an impoverished, blind boy with a connection to a world beyond the harsh reality of his daily existence. Following those humble beginnings, his success with dozens of hits and albums has spanned generations.
Brandon Lay, a singer/songwriter originally from Jackson, Tenn., resides in Nashville. He received national recognition when his song, “The House,” was featured in the Spring 2011 edition of American Songwriter Magazine. Lay released his debut album, “Me and Dixie,” in 2012.
Jami Grooms moved to Nashville the morning after he graduated high school in rural Arkansas. The singer/songwriter has entertained diverse crowds with the Catfish Johnston Band — from playing one-night stands to serving as house band at the world famous Wildhorse Saloon to sharing the stage with Sammy Kershaw, Confederate Railroad, Rascal Flatts and others. He signed an exclusive writing deal with Sony ATV in 2011 and has had songs cut by Matt Kennon, Buddy Jewel, Bucky Covington and Bush Hawg.
Prattville, Ala. singer/songwriter Donica Knight joined the group Luckytown in college. In the summer of 2011, she began traveling to Nashville between gigs to write, sing and chase a long-held dream. Successes since that time have included when Knight sang two of h
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