Fallon woman wins local country music contest, prepares for Great Falls

Jamie Lee McGrady of Fallon came away with the top prize at the Texaco
Country Showdown local competition held on Friday, July 15 at the Omni
Center in Miles City.

By Kay Braddock 

Jamie Lee McGrady of Fallon was named the winner of the 30th Annual Texaco Country Showdown local competition held July 15 at the Omni Center in Miles City. 
McGrady will advance to the state final competition at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls, August 5, where she will be vying for $1,000 as well as the opportunity to perform at one of the five regional competitions later this fall. She will be competing among seven other talents.
        Regional winners receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Final, competing for a $100,000 grand prize and national title. 
Of the eight featured entrants at the local competition in Miles City, McGrady came away with the top prize with her guitar and vocal performance of Miranda Lambert’s, “The House That Built Me.”
“It was a wonderful feeling,” McGrady said of the win. “I’ve never felt anything like it before in my life.”
For the 25-year-old Oregon native, music has always been a way of life.  Coming from a family of musicians, McGrady has been a part of vocal and instrumental performances the family presented in and around Cottage Grove, Oregon throughout her growing up years.
“When I was younger, music sometimes paid the bills,” McGrady shared. 
She admits there was a time, in her early teens, when she’d lost interest in anything to do with music.  But that changed when, at 17, she took up the guitar. It was a skill that came easily to her – a talent likely passed down from her mother and father, who both play, and from both sets of grandparents.
McGrady, who moved to Fallon 3 years ago, has performed alongside her dad Kenny in Terry and Fallon. When the pair played at last month’s Relay for Life event in Terry, they caught the attention of Bob and Vicki Lindvig. Encouraging Jamie Lee to compete at the 30th Annual Texaco Country Showdown, the Lindvigs found an entry form and helped Jamie Lee lay down tracks on a CD – a requirement to be accepted to play.
The CD included Jamie Lee’s rendition of “A Little Bit of Rain,” by Crystal Gayle, “Travelin Soldier,” by Dixie Chicks and “The House That Built Me,” by Miranda Lambert.
This year’s local competition also featured Jonna Bakken of Wibaux, Ashly Eli from Forsyth, Amanda Heinbach of Miles City, Kristin Merwin from Mesa, Ariz., Ian Murphy of Baker, Rechelle Verianic from Colstrip and Roy and Veronica Zimmerman of Billings.
Among her supporters watching her performance on Friday, were her dad and her 2-year-old son Kolten.
“Kolten wanted to be up there playing with me,” McGrady said, pointing out her young son is already demonstrating an interest in music.
Is she feeling nervous about the upcoming competition? McGrady answers with a smile, “I’m just going to go and have fun with it. I don’t want to take it too serious.”

Published July 20, 2011

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