Country Songwriters Throw Lines and Hooks in Florida

Angaleena Presley, Deana Carter, Zac Brown Highlight 30A Songwriters Festival

Angaleena Presley felt right at home during her big debut at the recent 30A Songwriters Festival in South Walton, Florida.

“Being around songwriters is my favorite thing in the world because we’re just … all of us are crazy,” she admitted. “We’re just a different breed. It’s good to get to hang out with all that energy. It makes me feel sort of normal being around other people that are not. We’re the same kind of crazy.”

Sitting to Presley’s left during the event’s press conference was one of festival’s main attractions — multiple-Grammy winner Deana Carter.

For Carter, making her debut at the festival was not just a chance to share her music. It was an opportunity to see a few of her favorite writers perform, as well.

“I’m such a fan, too, so it’s wonderful to be a part of it,” she said. “I pinch myself to still get to do this for a living. I’m so grateful.”

And they were just two of the many country songwriters and artists taking the Emerald Coast by storm. In my four years attending the festival, I’ve never seen such a strong country and Americana presence.

Artists like Jason Isbell, Robert Ellis, Hayes Carll, Ty Herndon, Chely Wright, Bobby Bare Jr. and Old Dominion’s Brad Tursi and the Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston attended alongside hit Nashville writers Jeffrey Steele, Jonathan Singleton, Ryan Hurd, Billy Montana and Kyle Jacobs.

Heck, it was so much fun, even Zac Brown had to get in on the action. Yep, the country star dropped in and surprised the crowd by hopping onstage and performing during his bandmate John Driskell Hopkins’ set at the Old Florida Fish House.

And that’s what weekends at the beach with nonstop music are all about — the moment, the spontaneity and the magic.

Oh, and then there’s the “hang” and the Grayton beer, of course. Just ask the hilarious and phenomenally talented Bare, who openly admitted both were a big draw for him.

“I was lucky to get asked to be here,” he said. “And I really like their beer here. It’s really good.”

It’s also about the dream collaborations and the moments when those dreams become reality. You can ask Presley about that.

“I’ve always wanted to write with Deana Carter,” she admitted. “And she just agreed to write with me.”

Boom! Come for the music, stay for the brew and leave with a smile and a hit song.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.