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April 15, 2008
Idol Chatter: Local songwriter among Top 20

Photograph/Charr Crail

I did a little digging - with a giant shovel - and found out that one of the Top 20 finalists in the "American Idol" songwriting contest is from right here in our midst!

His name is Ryan Gillmor (pictured), he's 24 and he lives in the Pollock Pines/Placerville area. His band, Gillmor, has made the rounds in Sacramento and throughout Northern California and also is a musical splash in SoCal, where most of the band members reside.

His "Idol" entry? A song titled "In This Moment."

"I'm a songwriter first and foremost," he tells me by phone today. (FYI: Ryan also wrote the theme song for the Fox TV show "Unhitched.")

Ryan, who is an "Idol" fan, missed the deadline to enter the contest last year. But there was no fooling around for Season 7.

"I thought last year's song was good, and I really feel strongly about my song," he says. "I get butterflies thinking about it. It's such a huge opportunity for the winner. It's something that comes around once in a lifetime."

Ryan got the good news last week (while at Disneyland, no less) that his song made the cut - out of tens of thousands of entries.

Now it's Sactown's chance to give back to this talented musician.

To hear Ryan's song (and the other finalists, but we're voting for Ryan, right?), click here and go to the "Show Guide" pull-down menu. The songs aren't listed by artist, but as you go through them, the titles will pop up. Voting ends April 23, so get cracking.

I listened to "In This Moment" for the first time this afternoon. Props to him for not going all "inspirational" on me. It's certainly an appropriate song for the "Idol" winner. Sort of like when someone wins something big and realizes, hey, "I'm getting confetti poured down on me, and I'm singing this really cool song!"

In addition to having the winning song performed on the show's finale, the winning songwriter will earn a publishing deal - and the song will be released by this year’s winner.

I definitely could hear David Cook releasing Ryan's song.

As far as tonight's "Idol" competition (8 on Fox40), the Final 7 will perform under the mentorship of none other than Mariah Carey. Because they were instructed to sing her songs, none of the judges can complain about taking on Mariah. Right?

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