Brian Callies

Arkansas Batesville Daily Guard

Studio in 'the barn' produces demo CD for showdown winner. A local studio, Baxter-Collins Sound Productions, recently made a two-song demo compact disc for Brian Callies of Memphis, who is one of eight finalists competing this weekend in the Colgate Country Showdown state finals at the Arkansas State Fair. Callies won the local Colgate Country Showdown, which was held as part of the White River Water Carnival, with an original song, "Barbecue Country Style." It is one of the songs on the compact disc and one of two Callies will sing in Little Rock. The showdown will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Smirnoff Ice Stage inside Gate 5 at the state fairgrounds. The other song on the demo, "You Can Hold Me To It," is also original. "We basically threw a survey on his Web site and "You Can Hold Me To It" was selected. It's a little bit more pop and country," Baxter said… Callies' two-song CD is being played "on a pretty heavy rotation right now" on KWOZ radio, Baxter said. Callies won the CD as part of his prize for winning the local showdown competition. Baxter feels Callies… "has a good shot at winning."… "He has good songs, he presents them well, he sings well - he's got a real smooth, country voice and a good range. And, the songs are contemporary enough to give him an edge. Of course, that's just my opinion." Baxter can be reached at 613-7777. Callies Web site is at The winner of the state finals gets $1,000 and a trip to the regional finals in Atlanta.

Arkansas Batesville Daily Guard Newspaper

Memphis man wins Colgate Country Showdown With not a cloud in the sky, and more than 1,500 people on hand at Riverside Park Saturday afternoon, country music lyrics filled the air as 15 contestants hoped to launch their professional music careers. The 23rd Annual Colgate Country Showdown, part of the festivities celebrating the 61st White River Water Carnival, is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America. The first place winner was Brian Callies of Memphis. He performed (an original song) called "Barbecue Country Style"… As first place winner with 117 points, Callies received a plaque and will advance to the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock in October. Acts then compete for a $1,000 prize, the state title and the opportunity to advance to one of six regional finals. Also, John Baxter, co-owner of Baxter-Collins Sound Productions, offered to produce a free demo of Callies' song. "There are lots of talented folks in this part of the world," Baxter said. "I wish the radio would play more of their music." The 15 contestants' performances were awarded 0-10 points on marketability in country music, vocal/instrumental ability, originality of performance, stage presence/charisma and overall talent. Up to three bonus points were awarded by Jay Teter, Fan Dozier and Baxter if contestants had original song lyrics… Before the showdown began Teter, an up-and-coming country music star, sang his single, "Cowboy Ride." He, along with Dozier and Baxter of Batesville, judged the competition… The Colgate Country Showdown begins each spring with more than 400 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the U.S. Batesville's event was hosted by Arkansas 103 KWOZ. If Callies wins at the state fair, he will then advance to the regional finals. It's the last step before the national final scheduled for Jan. 31, 2005, which is televised from one of country music's venues, like the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House, the Grand Palace Theatre in Branson, Mo., the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Epcot Center at Walt Disney World and Universal Studio Florida. Over the years, stars such as Garth Brooks, LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and John Michael Montgomery have competed in the Colgate Country Showdown. At the 1983 national final, Martina McBride and Neal McCoy competed against one another, only to lose to The Jim Arnold Band. In 1985, Sweethearts of the Rodeo won the national final before becoming one of country music's hottest duos.