Learn more about this year’s performers:
CJ Solar – CJ Solar, a native of Baton Rouge, LA, is a graduate of Belmont University and writes for Sea Gayle Music in Nashville, TN. Since signing his publishing deal, CJ has had songs of his recorded by other country artists, such as Jerrod Niemann and Justin Moore, including writer credits on Jerrod’s single “Blue Bandana”. CJ’s debut EP, “Hard One to Turn Down” was released spring 2016 on Sea Gayle Records. CJ co-wrote, co-produced and played on all 5 songs on the EP. He was named in the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” list by Rolling Stone magazine. His song “Tallboy” hit #1 in CMT’s fan-voted, 12-pack countdown and garnered more than 1 million Spotify listens. His debut single to country radio, “Just Another Day in the Country,”was released in January and is already charting on the Billboard country chart.
Rick Huckaby – “Huck” as he is referred to, is a Nashville, TN is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player. His sound is like none other heard in country music today combining influences as rare as Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, and Keith Whitley.
Huck was born in Baton Rouge, LA as the son of the legendary basketball coach, Rick Huckabay Sr, (Rick took the “a” out at the end of his last name as not to confuse the pronunciation).
Rick played guitar in Tracey Lawrence’s band for 5 years and had 10 of his songs recorded by Lawrence. He, also, wrote the top 20, “Muddy Water”, recorded by Trace Adkins…and, another top 20, “Beer with Jesus” released by Thomas Rhett.
Justin Ebach – Representing SESAC, Performing Rights Organization, Florida Native, Justin Ebach is a Dove Nominated songwriter and producer who joined Word as a staff writer in August of 2012. His talents expand beyond the Christian Market into the Country and TV/Film Markets. He achieved his first #1 Country Song in November of 2016- Big Machine Artist Brett Young’s ‘Sleep Without You,’ and on March 6th you can hear ‘When I Pray For You’ Recorded by Dan & Shay, on a radio near you. He’s had multiple songs recorded or singled by Craig Morgan, Josh Turner, Love & Theft, Jordan Davis, Adam Craig, Lindsey Ell, The Railers, and many more. His Music has been placed in various TV Shows ‘Grimm’ and ‘The Fosters’ among others, and his songs have won multiple SESAC awards.
Brent Anderson – Brent Anderson, a native of Pascagoula, MS, moved to Nashville and signed his first publishing deal at the age of 15. He currently writes for Sea Gayle Music and, since, has had cuts with Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, Bucky Covington and Brad Paisley. His credits also include the #1 hit “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe and other singles, “Cold Beer With Your Name On It” (Josh Thompson) and “Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely” (Sheryl Crow). Brent also co-produced Chris Jansen’s new album for Warner Brothers, including the breakthrough hit “Buy Me A Boat”, and co-produced CJ Solar’s debut EP.