by Robert Bell
ALCHEMY SONGWRITING COMPETITION
7:30 p.m. The Ford Theater. $10.
The second annual Alchemy Songwriting Competition kicks off Friday in Conway, featuring 10 finalists who will perform their original tunes for a panel of judges that includes Academy Award winner and Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen (who's been writing songs herself, lately), singer/songwriter Treva Blomquist and Andy Davis, founder of the Music Empowers Foundation.
The competition is also a fundraiser for Blackbird Academy of Arts, an arts education nonprofit based in Conway. The grand prize is a trip to Los Angeles and a recording sesh with producer Tim Pagnotta.
On deck for the competition are Arkatext of Conway (more here from this week's issue), Rachel Pearl of Springhill, Tenn., Tom Mix and Shawn Keeter of Mt. Vernon, Sally Howell of Benton, Half Priced Hearts of Conway, The Outset of Tulsa, Jordan Anderson of Lonoke, Austin Jones of Little Rock, Brandon Alanis of Cabot and Allison Pierce of Little Rock.