Thu, May 24, 2018 03:15 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
LC ‘New Grass’ artists advance to round three of national talent search
by Scott Perry

LOUISA — It may not be getting as much exposure as “American Idol,” but an annual talent hunt known as the Colgate Country Showdown could produce the same shot at stardom for a group of young Eastern Kentucky musicians.

The group, billed as Endless Highway, is on a road that they hope does come to an end, at the nationally televised finals of the Colgate Country Showdown. That would bring them a lot of exposure, but the big prize is a recording contract and a cash prize of $100,000.

Endless Highway has now advanced to round three of the national talent search, winning first place in 2nd round competition on June 14 in Matewan, W.Va., in an event held during the annual Hatfield-McCoy Reunion.

The group, which is made up of Louisa musicians Jamie and Cameron Painter and Amy Trautwein, plus Scott Murphy, of Lovely, in Martin County, won round two with two original songs composed by Murphy and Jamie Painter.

Their next stop in the bid for a national championship is in Parkersburg, W.Va. on August 17.

Meanwhile, Endless Highway, which performs a style known as “New Grass,” has been making impressions back home.

In February, the quartet won the 2003 Country Talent Search in Ashland, and they have been touring regularly around the region, opening recently for The Primitive Quartet and The Isaacs at the Bluegrass and More Festival in Morehead.

The group, with Scott Murphy, 26, on lead vocals and lead guitar; Jamie Painter, 22, on lead vocals and rythym guitar; Cameron Painter, 19, singing harmony and playing mandolin; and Amy Trautwein, 18, on backup vocals, will perform June 20 at the Louisa Pavilion and June 21 at Yatesville Lake.

The Colgate Country Showdown, now in its 21st year, starts each spring with over 400 local talent contests around the country. Winners work their way to state championships, where they can win $1,000 cash prizes, and then advance to national regional competition, the final stage before the finals.

Endless Highway joins some very prestigious company among the ranks of Colgate Country Showdown contestants. Some, like Garth Brooks, Leann Rimes and Martina McBride, didn’t make the Colgate finals, but went on to stardom just the same.

Endless Highway has been performing as a group for about seven months.

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