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They’re Playing Their Songs

by S. Lynne on October 31st, 2012

Grammy Award-winning stars and soon-to-be stars are converging on the Gulf Coast this month for the 28th annual Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. The 11-day event, scheduled for November 8 through 18, will showcase the talents of some 200 songwriters from around the world. They’ll be performing their original works in multiple venues around Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Pensacola Beach.

Presented by the iconic Flora-Bama Lounge and sponsored by the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce and Alabama Gulf Coast Tourism, the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival has been rated one of the top 20 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. Past performers include Chris Wallen, who composed the 2007 Kenny Chesney hit “Don’t Blink,” Rick Carnes, who penned Reba McEntire’s first number one single “I Can’t Even Get the Blues No More,” and Billy Joe Shaver, known as the “grandfather of outlaw country music.”

This year’s headliners include Earl Bud Lee, whose “Friends in Low Places” was recorded by Garth Brooks; Steve Dean, who has co-written six number one hits, including “Walk On” for Reba McEntire and “Southern Star” for Alabama; and Brett Jones, who penned Justin Moore’s number one single “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.”

The event is named for the late Frank Brown, who worked as night watchman at the Flora-Bama for 28 years. Brown considered one of his job’s greatest perks to be listening to the music at what has been dubbed the “Last Great American Roadhouse.”

The festival is unique in that it spotlights songwriters rather than performing artists, giving them the chance to shine on their own. And most of the entertainment venues are small, so the writers have plenty of opportunities to interact with audiences and share the stories behind their songs.

Admission to most venues is free; some may have a small cover charge.

For more information and a list of this year’s artists and venues, log onto

November is off-season at the beach, and plenty of rental units are available at reasonable rates. For places to stay in the area, check out our listings of condos, beach houses, and hotels at Gulf Shores vacation rentals, Orange Beach vacation rentals, and Pensacola Beach vacation rentals. And click on the links for Gulf Shores restaurants, Orange Beach restaurants, and Pensacola Beach restaurants for places to eat.

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