Blues wins in Showcase's first week 

Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain edges Wildwood.

Charlotte Taylor and her band Gypsy Rain were the first-week winners in the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, held at Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom Jan. 27. Taylor and Gypsy Rain, a standout blues act from Heber Springs, edged out Wildwood, a “newgrass” trio from Fayetteville, by three points on the five judges’ cards, with young modern rockers PM Today and Fayetteville modern pop/folk band Phantasmelodia also giving strong performances. It was obvious among the judges, however, that the tightness of Taylor and Gypsy Rain was too strong to overcome, although Wildwood and its smooth country-like harmonies, its instrumentation, particularly with its mandolin player, and its original lyrics made ithe contest close. Week 2 of the Showcase on Thursday, Feb. 3, features the Frup from Arkadelphia, the Odds from Fayetteville, Little Rock’s Table 12 and local jam rockers FreeVerse, which replaces Fine Line, sidelined by a band member’s illness. FreeVerse was semfinalist last year and first alternate this year. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $5 for ages 18 and up. The finals are Friday, March 4, at Juanita's. The winner will receive $200 in music equipment, recording time from Blue Chair Studio, a guaranteed spot in the Riverfest lineup and a spot on the Peabody-Little Rock's summer concert series, $200 in food from Trio's and more.

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