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Better late than never....

Sooooo I went to the Southeast Journalism Conference this weekend at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. This was the second year I attended...last year was at Ole Miss. Last year was the first time any of us had beeb to SEJC and we had a bout 20 people in our group...this time we had some people from last year and we had a group of 30 people! We had the biggest group at the conference! Every time something was said about our school, there was a joke that we brought a grayhound bus full of people, lol.

The SEJC is composed of about 60 schools from the South. In November we submitted published stories to the Best in South competition which was judged by very prestigeous journalists from around the country. I was selected by the SLU faculty to be entered in the News Writing category...I didn't win anything though :( Five people from SLU placed in Best in South though. I think we placed in Public Service Journalism, Best Television Station....anddd....I don't remember the other ones.

We also competed in on-site competitions which are sooooooo much fun! Last year I competed in Entertainment Writing in which we got to talk to a local artist and view his work, after which we had to write an article about it. This year we got to have a mock press conference with the lead singer of a local band and write a review about the band...

I WON FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was soooooooooo freakin excited!!!!! I wanted to win SO BAD! I was disappointed last year when I didn't win and I really felt like I did a good job this year, and I really hoped I would win. I didn't expect to win first place! This will be the last year I can compete in on-site because next year the conference will be at SLU and I will be helping with the planning, so I won't be allowed to compete :( But I'm glad I went out with a bang!!!

Oh, and out of the 60-something schools in the conference, about half participated in on-site competions....and SLU one second place OVER ALL out of all the schools!!!!!!!!!

Here's my winning article!!!! ((Let me know what ya think))
Sell out shows with energetic crowds are the business of Belmont band, Moon Taxi. With the release of their second album, Live Ride, under their belt the band, which is often classified as jam rock, spends their weekends touring the South with a large cult following.

While Moon Taxi tends to shy away from labels, their music has a recognizable sound with the ability to transcend musical boundaries and appeal to audiences of many different genres. The band thrives on variety making every live performance a distinct event.

The group got their start as students at Belmont University where three of the five members studied music. After getting to know each other through dorm room jam sessions in Maddox dorm hall, Moon Taxi was born and has now grown into “weekend warriors,” packing up their band gear every weekend and travelling from Tennessee to Georgia and everywhere in between.

Moon Taxi has especially made a name for themselves in the Nashville area where they recently sold out the bar Exit Inn with a crowd of over 580 people. The band has managed to gain their following without the help from the Nashville music scene or local media, achieving their popularity through the grass roots method.

“I’m the highest and the lowest person in my band,” said Trevor Terndrup, singer and guitarist for the band. Besides performing in weekend shows Terndrup, along with the other band members, does everything from management to promotion. He even personally answers his own email messages from the band’s popular Myspace.com website.

“I’d like to keep it that way,” he says. “I’d like to play in front of a big sold out stadium one day and if we could get there through this grass roots method it would be very satisfying.”

Lack of media attention may be due to the “jam rock” label that was placed on the band because of the dueling guitars and long instrumental intervals in their songs; however their energetic and extroverted stage presence is a sharp contrast to the introverted jam band concerts in which the musicians sit idle on stage with their instruments.

“We’re a jam band that head bangs,” says Terndrup. “The fans reciprocate our energy and we thrive on that.”

Live Ride, which was released on Feb. 10, is a bluesy Southern rock album with a hint of reggae. The funky and upbeat rhythms are similar to such bands as 311, but are strongly reminiscent of local New Orleans favorites such as the soulful Cowboy Mouth and progressive Galactica.

Terndrup gets his inspiration from a variety of musical greats such as Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. The other band members however get their inspiration from local hip-hop groups such as McBattle and popular rock bands like My Morning Jacket, giving the band a sound of their own that is hard to pin to one label or genre.

Moon Taxi sees music as a vehicle and that is what they hope to convey with their band name. To them, their popularity is not just a chance for 15 minutes of fame, but a way to express themselves and engage their audiences.

“Hopefully through our music people can be transported to a new dimension,” says Terndrup.
Upcoming shows and samples of music can be viewed on the bands website, www.myspace.com/moontaxi.





WOW! Jess. There is no question as to how you won 1st place with this article! It sounds so professional...like it could have come from the old Chris Rose Jazz Fest interviews...or the Sunday New York Times Entertainment section.
You definitely have tapped into your gift of writing...and your M'use is working overtime.
I am so proud of you following your dream...it may have its roller-coaster highs and lows...but as you can see here...it is well worth the ride.

You go girl!!! You're writing ROCKS!!!
Love ya'



Yaaaaaaay Jessica! That's amazing :). Your painting is fabulous too btw.