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Superior performer heads to Nashville

Jed Carlson / Shane Nelson performs “Tennessee Whiskey” at the Farmer’s Market in Superior on Wednesday. Nelson will soon be heading to Nashville for the next round of American Idol. Jed Carlson /

A member of Crescent Moon is heading to Nashville next week after winning a silver ticket on Northland Idol.

Shane Nelson, 25, said he was browsing the internet when he saw a notice for a competition, Northland Idol, sponsored by WDIO Channel and Centricity Credit Union. The prize was a silver ticket for a one-on-one audition with the American Idol executive producers. The competition was open to individuals only.

"I figured it was just as good an opportunity to sign up for Northland Idol," Nelson said of signing up for the regional competition. He admits he never really had an interest in watching the American singing competition television series.

After the first round of the competition, Nelson performed "Tennessee Whiskey," most recently performed by Chris Singleton, which put Nelson in the top six, giving him a shot to perform "Love don't live here," by Lady Antebellum for the local judges, which gave him the opportunity to audition before national executive producers.

Nelson, who started performing music at age 6, said his love of music was inspired by his parents.

"My dad used to play a little guitar," Nelson said. "He would play songs for me and my brothers; we were about the same age." He said his dad bought him his first guitar when he was 6. But even before that, he said, his mom used to play music in her minivan — it was the early Beatles hits that inspired him even before he learned to play guitar.

"Our mom also played a lot of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, B.J. Thomas, and several other oldies mix tapes, which contain music that Shane and our other brother, Jessie, still work into their 'Crescent Moon' sets to this day," said Shane's sister, Carolyn Nelson-Kavajecz.

Shane Nelson said his brother, Jessie, who plays bass in the band will be traveling to Nashville with him next week.

"You can tell a story," Nelson said of his love of music. "It used to be about something else when I was younger — to be a rock star and all the fans. Growing older it is about giving someone a new perspective, or trying to make a difference one way or another, or telling a story ... opening up your mind or making you feel."

Nelson said he's not really sure what will happen when he performs for producers; he's just one of many regional competition winners who will be auditioning. Not all competitors are auditioning in Nashville, he said.

"I'm going to go down there, I'm going to play down there, and I'm going to enjoy my time in Nashville," Nelson said before performing at Superior's Downtown Farmer's Market last week. "I'm going to seek out other opportunities there so I can broaden my horizons a little bit. Then I can say I've been to Nashville so people can quit bugging me to go there."

In addition to his audition with Idol executive producers, Nelson said he plans to take the opportunity to perform at open mics while he's there.

"It's wonderful," said Leslie Black, a retired Superior music teacher who taught Nelson string bass in middle school and still studies music theory with him from time to time.

"Shane has received a lot of community support recently," Nelson-Kavajecz said. "Over the years, Shane along with his bandmates, Crescent Moon, have volunteered hundreds of hours helping individuals with fundraisers, community events, school-related projects, and more; so it is nice to see so many people wanting to celebrate with him and give back."

A send-off and open mic runs 5-8 p.m. tonight for Nelson's send-off and to allow musicians to highlight the talent in Superior in a family-friendly environment at Vintage Italian Pizza, 1201 Tower Ave. Area musicians are invited to share their talent.

"In addition, Shane will play some of the songs that he may use for his audition and will be seeking audience feedback," Nelson- Kavajecz said. "It is a fun way to engage the community in this experience."