Brandon Idol kicks into Country!


BACKED UP BY the ever-versatile Brandon Idol band, the contestants made Brandon, Vermont sound like Branson, Missouri.

BRANDON – Once again, the Brandon Idol contestants got to dust off their Stetsons and sing their lonesome hearts out on Friday night as the competition entered its Country era at the Brandon Town Hall. Backed up by the ever-versatile Brandon Idol band (Byron Bilado, Kenny Cifone, and Ross Edmunds), the contestants made Brandon, Vermont sound like Branson, Missouri.

Emcee Shannon Wright started off the evening with a touching tribute to his father, who was in the audience, and to the late Toby Keith, singing Mr. Keith’s “American Soldier.”

BAKER LAROCK PERFORMING his original song “Goodbye Again.”

The first contestant was OV student Baker LaRock, who delivered a haunting performance of his original song “Goodbye Again.” The song was about strained and lost relationships and young LaRock sang like he’s already had his heart broken like a bronco.  

OV’s Calvin Ladd was up next, with a breakneck rendition of the Charlie Daniels Band’s mouthful-of-words “Drinking My Baby Goodbye.” Though Ladd is underage, he tore through the tricky song like someone determined to hit the honky tonk before it closes.

Hilary Collier offered up a spare yet lush performance of “Burning House” by Cam. A veteran of Idol and the Red Clover open mic, Collier sounded practiced and polished. She told Wright, “Brandon is an incredible community and it’s cool to sing for everybody.”

OV student Jordan Bertrand sang “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson. Singing with surprising maturity, Bertrand sounded like someone who’d seen the inside of a few saloons and had come out stronger for the experience.

Maddox Bashaw came on with the ballad “Space and Time” by singer-songwriter Nathan Childers.  Bashaw performed with a strong voice that resonated throughout the hall. Hailing originally from Brookfield, VT, Bashaw told Wright “I love everything about country.” And he sounded like it!


Pompadoured Matthew Graham strutted out like a stray cat and laid into “Your Man” by Josh Turner.  Microphone issues kept his volume a bit muted, but he still sounded every bit the rockabilly hero.

Miranda Snyder was next with her powerful version of “White Horse” by Chris Stapleton, imbuing the song with bluesy folksiness and pulling low notes seemingly from her boots. And thanks to Wright’s curveball question, the audience learned Snyder enjoys quinoa pasta. So, if you ever have her over for dinner, you know what to cook!

Peggie Sue Rozell chewed up LeAnn Womack’s “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.” Never before had a wronged woman sounded so right. Ms. Rozell announced as well that she’ll be organizing a Native American powwow at the Town Hall in September.

Venus Diamondis wrapped up the competition with her slightly goth presentation of “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood. Leave it to Diamondis, who often sports elf ears, to take country into the Emo zone. She and Wright are old pals from previous years of Brandon Idol and she revealed to him that one of her biggest inspirations is Dolly Parton. Who doesn’t love Dolly???

MIRANDA SNYDER WITH her version of “White Horse.”

[Note: Bethany White was unable to perform because of health issues but will be back next month.]

Wright ended the performance segment of the night with a rousing rendition of the classic “Folsom Prison” by the iconic Johnny Cash, after which he announced his intention to pursue a career in musical theater. He’s certainly got the pipes and personality for it!

And the evening came to a close with the coronation of Miranda Snyder as Fan Favorite! We hope someone made her a heaping bowl of quinoa pasta when they got home! Congrats, Miranda! And thanks to all the performers and musicians who make these events so much fun.

Next month’s genre: Rap!  So bust out your best bling for Brandon Idol raps!

Share this story:
Back to Top