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Beacher Wins Country Music Award

September 18th, 2009 by Kirsten Jones

Beaches Metro
by Bill MacLean 
Beacher wins country music award

On the night of Sept. 16, in front of more than 4,000 country music fans gathered on the grounds of Magna International in Aurora, Beach singer songwriter Kirsten Jones took first place in the annual Magna Hoedown Showdown. The Hoedown Showdown is a showcase for aspiring Canadian singers and songwriters. This year 85 musicians took part in the two-week contest judged by Sylvia Tyson, John McDermott and current Chair of the Canadian Country Music Awards, Heather Ostertag. The gala performance featured performances by The Good Brothers, Diane Chase, Corb Lund, and the Showdown winner, Kirsten Jones.

“It was a great night of country music,” said Jones, who expressed her admiration for all the other performers (“Everybody was so good…”) as well as her surprise at her own choice as winner.

“I think I’m far more folk,” she said. “But in the end I think it was more about songwriting and performance.” All the artists were required to perform solo in front of the judges, and the fact that Jones has been playing for several years – has already released a solo CD – combined with her pure, lilting voice, no doubt were factors in the judges’ choice. For the gala concert Jones brought her bandmates Mitch Girio, bass, and Kevin Zarnett, lead guitar, on stage with her.

Jones is originally from Virginia, but because her father is Canadian, she has dual citizenship. When she decided it was time to move to a big city to pursue a career in music she chose Toronto, where her father was living at the time. For the next few years Jones did the usual rounds of coffee houses and open stages before taking a job in sales at Universal Music. It was there that she learned a lot about the business side of music. It was a meeting with Sheryl Crow that convinced her to make the commitment to music full time.

“Here I was meeting Sheryl Crow and introducing myself as a record company employee,” she said. “And I realized that I’d rather be introducing myself as a singer and a songwriter.” She packed up and headed to Nashville where made the rounds of clubs, honing her skills as a performer and a writer.

Her first CD, Drive-in Movie, was released in 2005. It was produced and recorded here in the Beach by Mitch Girio, and distributed by Maple Music. It has enjoyed extensive airplay (you can hear three cuts by visiting, and she is currently at work on a second recording due out in the new year. Jones has made the Beach her home for the last few years.

The prize for winning the Magna Hoedown Showdown is $2,500, a block of recording studio time – and a $3,500 Gibson guitar (Gibson was the sponsor of the contest). Jones is excited about the prospects of owning this guitar.

“I drop into Long & McQuade often, and every time I’m there I play this big Gibson Jumbo guitar,” she said. “I sure hope that’s the one I win.”

You can hear and read more of Kirsten Jones and her music at the ‘myspace’ site, or at, and order Drive-in Movie from

Posted in Press Reviews |

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