County's Rising Star
to compete in Nashville
NORTH VERNON, Ind. (February 2003) Ken Pahls, a
32-year-old North Vernon singer-songwriter, was recently invited to
Nashville, Tenn., to compete as a finalist in a talent contest sponsored
by Fowler All Night Sings.
Pahls performed his song, Crosses on the Highway, in the
semifinals last December in Branson West, Mo. The contest, said Pahls,
was organized similarly to the television show, American Idol,
where viewers could call in to vote.
Pahls said that he was notified by mail in January that he had made
the finals. He will travel to Nashville on April 26 to compete alongside
other finalists for the chance to win a recording contract valued at
Pahls described his music style as a mixture of country
and gospel. He has written about 27 songs, most of which are gospel
but which he claims could easily cross over into the country music genre.
Pahls said he has been performing for about 11 years, mostly at local
churches and in contests.
Besides his own songs, he has performed the music of Garth Brooks in
several competitions and has won many awards. In addition to singing
at churches and in contests, Pahls performed at the famed Bluebird Cafe
in Nashville, where many top country music artists such as Garth Brooks
and Faith Hill, got their starts.
Pahls said he received a warm reception at the cafe, where he sang the
same song, Crosses on the Highway, that made him a finalist
in the Fowler contest.
The song, which Pahls said he was inspired to write after noticing a
cross placed on a roadside, reflects the sorrow of losing life due to
accidents caused by drinking and driving.
After he composed the song, Pahls learned that the cross he saw was
placed at the site on Hwy. 50 at Wishing Well Road in Jennings County,
Ind., by Robyn McClintock. McClintock placed the cross in memory of
her daughter, Angela Darlene McClintock, who was killed at the location
in 1999 when the vehicle in which she was riding was rear-ended by a
A vision that is all too common, the roadside memorial cross embedded
the image of a song in the mind of Pahls and became the answer to a
prayer. Pahls said he was divinely inspired to write the song, which
he completed in just three days.
According to Pahls, many who hear the song think it is about his own
life. Fortunately, it does not reflect his personal experience, but
it does reveal an honest understanding of the tragedy and an admonition:
Need to think about the ones you love when you go to turn that
key, the lyrics say.
That message, said Pahls mother, Charlotte Pahls, has definitely
served a purpose. It has touched so many peoples lives,
said Charlotte who is a pastor and has shared the song with many people,
including prison inmates to whom she ministers. Every time I see
them (the inmates), they want to sing the song.
Charlotte also said that Judge John Webster of Jennings County allowed
the song to be played in court when the driver of the vehicle that killed
McClintock came up for a review of sentencing. There wasnt a dry
eye in the courtroom, she said.
Aside from inspiring many people, Pahls hopes his song will be the catalyst
to his career in music. My goal is to have it played where somebody
can hear it. But not just anybody. Ive just got to
have someone high up who can hear it, he said.
While the song has received radio station play in the Madison, Ind.,
area, Pahls still faces the challenge of breaking into markets with
massive audiences, such as those in Nashville. For that to happen, Pahls
said he needs to get his big break.
The contest in April may be just the opportunity for which Pahls has
been searching. The winner of the contest will receive a contract that
includes the professional production of a 10-song recording, promotion
products and assistance and an appearance on television in Music City.
In the meantime, Pahls will continue to market his talent and sell his
CD single of Crosses on the Highway. The single of the song
was professionally produced by Jerry Webb at The Project Room in Nashville.
To purchase a copy of Crosses on the Highway, contact Pahls
at (812) 346-6706 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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