The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

April 16, 2010

A little bit country: Local singer wins contest

JOPLIN, Mo- — Most kids start out with big dreams to be a doctor, astronaut, actor or a rock star. But what if one of those dreams became reality?

It just might for Kaleb McIntire.

On April 6, McIntire won the local round in Joplin for the Colgate Country Showdown. The showdown is a national competition to “find the most promising country music talent in America,” according to the contest’s Web site, www.countryshowdown.com.

McIntire originally signed up for the competition on a whim.

“I had no idea about it,” McIntire said. “My buddies told me to enter because they had heard me sing in local bars and stuff. And then I won the thing.”

According to Jeff Allen, disc jockey for KBTN Country Legends radio station in Joplin, McIntire combined original and cover songs for the competition. KBTN hosted the local contest for the Colgate Country Showdown.

“It was a wise choice,” Allen said. “It proved he can compose his own songs. He was one of my top favorites (in the competition).”

Allen described McIntire’s music as “singer-songwriter with a red dirt influence” and the singer as soft-spoken, humble, charming and talented.

The local win allows McIntire to enter in the state finals in August. He could win $1,000, the state title and the opportunity to progress to the regional and even the national levels. The winner of the national title also wins $100,000 to begin a music career.

But McIntire’s music career has already begun.

McIntire comes from a musical family to begin with ÑÊhe is distantly related to Randy Owen, lead singer of the band Alabama. But his biggest musical influence is his father, he said.

“He’s definitely the one I look up to,” McIntire said. “He taught me everything I know. My old man is a really good musician.”

His father helped him learn various instruments such as the fiddle, piano, drums, guitar and harmonica.

Although McIntire grew up listening to artists like Elvis Presley and David Allan Coe, he took his music in a different direction while living in New York in his early twenties.

“I used to be into heavy metal and the whole screaming thing,” McIntire said. “Playing tours like that was insane, but you can’t keep your vocal chords.”

After returning from New York, McIntire decided to turn over a new leaf and change his life Ñ including the genre of music he played.

“My dad used to tell me there are only two types of music: country and western,” McIntire said. “I guess he was right.”

McIntire, now 24, has focused on creating country music on his own and with his band, the Newton County Line, for the past year and a half. Most of that time McIntire has been playing his original songs in Joplin area bars, but for the past two months he has been working hard with the band.

McIntire plans to book shows at local casinos to promote the band and hopes the group will eventually go on tour.

Last Wednesday, McIntire met with Bob Martin, known as Dr. Bob on KXUS-FM in Springfield,  and owner of Nathan P. Murphy’s.

“It went really good,” McIntire said. “While I was playing, I could tell he was really excited since he was kind of jumping up and down. I guess I’m pretty excited, too.”

When not setting up live shows, McIntire works on his original songs. His songs consist of life experiences, such as trying to make it in the music business and being “a ruffian.”

McIntire has 12 original songs ready to record, with 50 or more unfinished songs to work on later. He plans to record the finished songs as soon as possible at the McCready Recording Studio in Seneca.

Whether or not McIntire takes the state title in the Colgate Country Showdown, he has seized every opportunity to pursue the thing he loves most.

“Music has always been a huge passion of mine,” McIntire said. “It kept me sane and helped me get through tough times. I knew it was kind of a long shot, but I always wanted to be a rock star.”

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