Grand Ole Gospel crowns ‘Showdown’ winner|Williamston’s Bryant is runner-up

Published 5:26 pm Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

CHOCOWINITY — An aspiring entertainer from Nashville, N.C., with dreams of striking it big in Nashville, Tenn., was named the winner of the local Colgate Country Showdown Saturday evening.
The event was hosted by Ronnie and Angie Lewis, owners of the Grand Ole Gospel theater in Chocowinity, and sponsored by The Bear radio station in New Bern.
Eight acts — dubbed the “Elite Eight” — each performed two songs for the judges panel and a crowd of several hundred spectators.
Adam Stone, a 32-year-old Rocky Mount native who now resides in Nashville, was named the winner at the conclusion of the show. He’ll now move on to the North Carolina/South Carolina state finals later this month.
Runner-up for the second year in a row was Jamie Leigh Bryant of Williamston. Other finalists, selected from among more than 40 performers who submitted audition tapes for the event, were Lee Hudson of Chocowinity, Lindsay Hindman of Edenton, Slammin Dixie of Swansboro, Jasa Lewis of Morehead City, Candace Godwin of Whiteville and April Trueblood of Frisco.
As it turns out, Stone is no stranger to the Colgate Country Showdown.
“In 2003 I won the state finals but I lost at regionals,” he told the Daily News in his first interview after the contest. “I began to play and sing when I could drag pots and pans out from under my mom’s kitchen sink. My dad always sang, so I’ve always been around music.”
Stone and his wife, Terri, share their home with three dogs and a cat. By day, he works full time repairing electric motors with his father, who owns a small business.
“I get greasy and dirty just like everybody else around there, but it’s my dream to do music full time,” he said.
Stone — who performed an original song titled “On Broadway Tonight,” which he said was written about the main drag in Nashville, Tenn., and Chris Young’s “Gettin’ You Home” — named several musical influences.
“There’s such a variety, from Sam Cooke to Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. And I really, really admire Alan Jackson,” he said.
Regardless of the results of the next round of competition, Stone said he’s almost made up his mind to pack up his wife, dogs and cat and move to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue his dreams.
“I’ve been going there since I was 15, making contacts,” he said. “I just met Dave Pahanish, a hit songwriter who co-wrote ‘American Ride’ by Toby Keith. He encouraged me to make the move, so I’m probably going to end up moving out there if we can rent our house.”
Stone is keeping good company with other performers who got their start with the Country Showdown, now in its 28th year. Other veterans of the competition include Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Billy Ray Cyrus.
* A DVD recorded live at Saturday’s performance is available from the Grand Ole Gospel in Chocowinity. For more information, call 252-975-2117.