Southwest Mississippi band wins JMA Rock Song of the Year, MSU's Battle of the Bands

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. - Sept. 26, 2021 - PRLog -- Southwest Mississippi band Four Way Stop has won Rock Duo/Group Song of the Year at the 7th annual Josie Music Awards and Mississippi State University's Battle of the Bands.

The award-winning song, "Wicked Woman," was written by the group's vocalists/guitarists Ryan Purser and Kyle Graves, with Graves accepting the award at the Josie ceremony on September 18 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

"I really was not expecting to have this award because there are so many talented people in this room," Graves began his acceptance speech. He then thanked "the Lord above," track personnel, friends, and family, before apologizing to anyone he may have inadvertently neglected to mention. "My mind is going in three billion different places right now, so if I missed you, I am so sorry!"

Graves closed his speech by touching on the hardships of the pandemic and thanking the event founders for continuing to support independent music. "This right here gives us hope," he concluded.

Founded in Nashville in 2015 by mother-daughter duo Tinamarie Passantino and Josie Passantino-Boone, the Josie Music Awards has quickly become one of the largest independent music awards shows in the U.S.

Days after taking home the Josie Award, the Brookhaven-based Four Way Stop made it through MSU's Battle of the Bands online fan-vote round to advance to the final five. Held on campus at the Bettersworth Auditorium, Friday, September 24, the live finale featured a three-judge panel and hundreds of attendees.

In addition to "Wicked Woman," the band's winning three-song set included crowd-favorite covers "Hard to Handle" and "Whole Lotta Love."

The group's win has earned them the opening spot for country singer HARDY at MSU's annual Bulldog Bash. Originally a songwriter for top country acts, including Florida-Georgia Line, Blake Shelton, and Thomas Rhett, Mississippi-native HARDY has recently scored a Billboard Top 40 hit with his song "One Beer."

Held in Starkville, Bulldog Bash has become the state's largest free outdoor concert, attracting some 35,000 attendees annually.

When asked what winning the competition meant to the band, Graves spoke of new opportunities and renewed spirits. "This means open doors," he said. "There was a refined newness for us. It felt like the first time we had ever taken the stage."

Four Way Stop was formed in 2018 and consists of Ryan Purser (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Kyle Graves (Vocals/Lead Guitar), Joe Cranfield (Bass), and Wyatt Brady (Drums).

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