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Greenville musician takes top honors at Songwriting Contest

They came from as far away as Iowa and New Jersey to compete. But it was a Butler County boy who ended up taking the top prize at the Hank Williams International Fan Club’s 2nd Annual Songwriting Contest.

Billy Studstill of Greenville won first place for his song “Looks Ain’t Everything,” taking home a big trophy, a brand-new guitar and eight hours of recording time with a Birmingham recording studio.

“This is just what I’ve been hoping for. Man, I can’t believe it,” Studstill, a huge grin on his face, said after the competition, held at the Georgiana Senior Nutrition Center on Friday, June 11.

“I’ve been singing and playing for a long time now. I’ve got several more songs I’m working on, that I’m going to try and hurry up and finish. Maybe I can use some of them in my recording session.”

A young singer-songwriter from Satsuma, Jessica Strenth, took home two trophies, earning 3nd place honors with “Guy Like That” and taking 2nd place with “Star Struck.”

Keith Rivers of Mt. Vernon took the 4th place trophy for his ballad, “Eyes of Spanish Brown.”

Contestants were allowed to enter up to three songs in the competition.

Other participants were Vinnie D’Amico, Bedford, N.J.; Ron Jeffers, Bay Minette; Gary Faust, Red Level; Mike Matthews, Smith Station; Bryan Bernard, Vinegar Bend; Aaron Cummings, Fort Deposit; Frank Tuma, Iowa; Jonathan Griggs, Red Level; Michael Stringer, Opp and Manny Norrell and Daniel Lowe, Georgiana.

Lori Cummings of Alabama Public Television and her camera operator were on hand to tape the event. Cummings said she is working on a documentary to air in 2011 during “The Year of Music in Tourism” in Alabama.

“Alabama has so many very talented musicians and we want to showcase some of that in this special. We hope to include snippets of all the performers from today in the finished product,” Cummings explained.