We all like surprises. But imagine the surprise felt by Conor Standish, lead singer and songwriter of up and coming Cleveland band The Burning River Ramblers, when he found out his mom (who is also the band’s manager), Kelly Standish, had entered his song (and a track on BRR’s debut album), “Stranger on the Street,” in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Valentine’s Day Love Song Contest—and that he had won the grand prize.
“I was ecstatic when I found out the news,” said Conor. “I had heard about the JLSC but never thought I'd be able to win any sort of contest that was involved with it. This is the first award I've ever won for something musical and I'm extremely grateful that my first one is the JLSC. I couldn't be happier.”
As the grand prizewinner, Conor receives a new M-Box and ProTools from Avid, a microphone from Audio-Technica and an Epi Dot Guitar from Epiphone. The song is automatically entered into JLSC’s annual songwriting contest, culminating in May, 2013. That contest awards a $20,000 cash prize and an opportunity to participate in the Vans Warped tour.
It’s already been a whirlwind year for BRR, as they were named one of the “Top 25 Bands to Watch” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer this past summer. They also released their debut in the summer of 2011, and continue to build their fan base regionally around Cleveland and at Ohio University where some of the band members attend.
The band plays a breezy, funky, Jack Johnson-ishalterna-pop that, not surprisingly, is extremely popular with college age crowds. But now a little national recognition from the JLSC win should widen BRR’s audience even more.
“ I am absolutely thrilled,” said Kelly. “But then, that song has always been my favorite.”