What started as winning a singing contest at the Howard County Fair, has now led Big Spring native J.R. McNutt, to being on the cusp of making it to Nashville.
“I would always listen to the radio and sing whatever my mom put on the radio,” McNutt said. “She noticed in the beginning that I just had a passion for music and later on I began to create my own music.”
McNutt’s taking part in the Country Showdown, a national competition finding country music talent.
After winning the Texas Regional in Rockport, McNutt now goes to Florida in November for the Southeast Regional Finals.
If he wins that, then he goes to Nashville for the televised finals, hosted by country music star LeAnn Rimes.
McNutt’s inspiration for making it through the contest is his father, who passed away in April.
“He never got to hear me sing,” McNutt said. So I felt like by being successful, by being what he had always told me, ‘may all your dreams come true,’ I want to do this for him.”
McNutt got his first break singing gigs at the Desert Flower in Big Spring, where owner Jeannine Thibault said they’re glad they gave him his first chance.
“The minute he played we were like, ‘wow, this guy’s fantastic’ and now he plays here on a regular basis,” Thibault said. “We all love him and we all are so proud of him. He’s the nicest man you’ll ever meet.”
If McNutt makes it to Nashville, he’ll compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and the title of ‘Best New Act in Country Music.’
“It’s really exciting and I really hope I can bring it home for West Texas,” said McNutt.
McNutt said he’s just a solo act right now, but he’s currently looking for band members to form a group, with him as the lead singer.