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AcousticView-LadyBug in Winter

Acoustic View By Aaron Rowan

The Ladybug In Winter

The Durango Songwriters Expo, held twice annually – southern California in February/March, and Boulder, Colorado in October – selects 200 songwriters out of thousands of applicants for each event. Patty Castillo Davis was among those chosen for the October 2013 installment. These songwriters are given intensive mentorship with top music industry professionals, many based in Nashville, where Patty’s music had already begun to gain a foothold. Her original song ‘Ladybug’ had captured the attention of a few people working music row, including music publisher Jennifer Johnson, president of The Song Factory. In fact, one of Patty’s more recent compositions, ‘Stay With Me’, was written as an assignment from Jennifer to craft a country song meant for a male vocalist.

And so, in the first week of October, Patty found herself walking in the wintry wonderland of Boulder. Her main musical mentor during the Expo was Anthony Smith, who has written songs for the heavy hitters of modern country – George Strait, Tim McGraw and Trace Adkins, to name a few. The judges in the songwriting competition were impressed by a number of Patty’s tunes. ‘Ladybug’ was a hit with all of the genre-specific panels, even the pop category.

‘History And Love’, one of Patty’s newer works (and one of the first to have been recorded to CD – featured on the recent ‘My Friends And I’ compilation album showcasing several Modesto-area songwriters), was called radio-worthy by a panel of judges. Like ‘Ladybug’, it appealed to judges in various genres, but fared the best in the Americana category.

Patty returned home to us with (what else?) a song in her heart, but also a new mission inspired by her experience in the Colorado Rockies. Among her goals for the near future are to see a women’s songwriting festival established in Modesto, and to work with organizations like Modesto Sound to mentor young student songwriters. She is a woman full of vision for the local arts scene, so be on the lookout for many great projects from her in the year to come.

Patty and myself will be two of the judges of the songwriting contest we are adding to next year’s Modesto Unplugged Music Festival. More about this next month, but in the meantime you can email me at for more info. Deadline for entry is February 1.

Patty and I will also be co-hosting a special event on Saturday December 28. We’re calling it ‘Elegy’, and it is a tribute to the musicians who have left this life in 2013. Any and all local players are invited to cover 1-2 songs by any such musician/band. Already slated to perform are singer-songwriters such as Rob Hill, Andrew Alvarez, Chris Ward, and of course Patty herself; giving renditions of songs by departed greats of the past year ranging from George Jones to Patti Paige to Lou Reed. This will be held at Peer Recovery Art Project, 1222 J St., at 6 PM. Anyone interested in performing a tune or two may email me to secure a spot and song selections. We hope to see you there!



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