Eckrich Announces Winner of “Music City Sing-Off” Competition Qualifying Event

LISLE, Ill., June 12, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eckrich announced the winner of their first “Music City Sing-Off” qualifying event Saturday evening on the stage in Tootsie’s Honkey Tonk Alley in Nashville, Tenn. Ben Rue was crowned the winner and will move to the final round for the opportunity to win a $50,000 brand ambassador contract with Eckrich and the opportunity to record a single with Grammy-nominated producer, Dave Brainard.

Left to Right: Dave Brainard, Dan MacDonald, Scotty McCreery and Ben Rue

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Rue was the last person standing after competing against three other qualifiers during the sing-off held during CMA Fest. Rue, from Silverton, Ore. wowed the judges with his vocals during his performance of “Country Cloth.” The judging panel consisted of multi-Platinum-selling country music superstar and “American Idol” Season 10 winner, Scotty McCreery, Grammy-nominated producer, Dave Brainard and Dan MacDonald, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Dollar General.

Eckrich, a brand of Smithfield Foods and the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, has been an integral part of the country music landscape for several years. The brand is a current partner of two of today’s most popular country music artists, Randy Houser and Easton Corbin. In addition, they have supported many up-and-coming country music artists across the country.

“We want to congratulate Ben Rue for winning the first round of our ‘Music City Sing-Off’ competition in Nashville,” said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. “This national competition provides aspiring country music artists with a great opportunity to take another step in their career. We congratulate our winner and are looking forward to seeing him perform again at the finale in October.”

Rue was honored to be the winner of the first regional competition.

“This is a great opportunity for young artists,” said Rue. “I’m excited to win and advance to the finale. I really want to thank Eckrich for this opportunity and to Dollar General for supporting it. It’s awesome to go home with a cool trophy and $1,000 in free groceries.”

Three more qualifying events will occur this summer, at the Buckeye Country Superfest on June 19 in Columbus, Ohio, Summerfest on July 2 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Oregon Jamboree on July 31 in Sweet Home, Oregon. The winner of each qualifying event will gather in Nashville on October 12th where the champion will be crowned at the competition’s final round at Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge Birthday Bash.

For more information about the Eckrich “Music City Sing-Off,” please visit or follow Eckrich on Facebook.

About Eckrich

Founded by Peter Eckrich in 1894, Eckrich has a rich heritage starting from a small meat market in Fort Wayne, Ind. Through it all, Eckrich meats have been recognized for their great taste and supreme quality, craftsmanship, care and pride. For more information, visit

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $14 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan's Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook's®, John Morrell®, Gwaltney®, Kretschmar®, Margherita®, Curly's®, Carando® and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit

About Scotty McCreery
Scotty McCreery burst onto the national music scene in 2011 at age 17 as the winner of “American Idol” Season 10, quickly establishing himself as one of country music’s hottest new stars. Now 22 years old, the talented singer/songwriter has sold nearly 3 million albums. He made history as both the youngest artist and the first male country artist to debut his first studio album atop the all-genre Billboard Top 200 chart with his Platinum-certified album Clear as Day. All three of his albums have debuted at No. 1 on a Billboard chart including the Gold-certified Christmas with Scotty McCreery and his most recent album, See You Tonight. He has achieved one Gold (the Top Ten hit “Feelin’ It”) and three Platinum-certified singles (“The Trouble with Girls,” “I Love You This Big,” and the Top Ten hit “See You Tonight”). McCreery has earned the Academy of Country Music's New Artist of the Year Award (2011), CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year (for "The Trouble with Girls" in 2012), American Country Award for New Artist of the Year (2011) and Breakthrough Artist of the Year (2013), and a BMI Award for writing one of the Top 50 Country Songs of 2015 ("See You Tonight"). The readers of NASH Country Weekly Magazine voted him as the reigning “Country Music’s Sexiest Man” and “Country Music’s Hottest Bachelor,” and the readers of The Los Angeles Times named him the “Best American Idol.” He recently released his first book, Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream, which is available everywhere books are sold. For more information, please visit

About Dave Brainard
Dave Brainard's deciBel Nashville is a laboratory of creativity and invention for adventurous and passionate musicians, and Dave is the mad scientist of sound. Dave is a self-taught producer who started in the demo business, working with Chris Tompkins, Dierks Bentley, and a famous Country music underdog – Jamey Johnson, producing They Call Me Country, the album that kick-started Johnson’s career. “Creative effort is such a personal pursuit,” Dave explains. “I am more driven by artistic curiosity than I am by someone’s sales potential. I’m inspired by the thrill of creation and how the story unfolds.” Those stories have unfolded great success for Dave, including producing albums for Ray Scott, Jerrod Neiman (including the #1 hit “Lover Lover” and the top five “What Do You Want”) and earning him a Grammy nomination for Brandy Clark’s acclaimed and Grammy-winning album, 12 Stories. “12 Stories is one of those rare albums whose every song is worth hearing,” said NPR’s Ken Tucker. “Every one is that striking, that textured and finely detailed… smoothly crafted, emotionally rough compositions.”

Also an accomplished songwriter, Dave's songs have been recorded by Brooks & Dunn, Neal McCoy, Sammy Kershaw and Ricochet. He co-wrote his most recent hit with Jason Mraz, “Everyone’s Got Someone But Me,” which Hunter Hayes ran up the charts.

Contacts: Jeff Dennison Breaking Limits for Eckrich 2137 South Blvd., Suite 200 Charlotte, N.C. 28203 Direct: 704-766-9061 Cell: 704-252-3356 E-Mail: Contact for Scotty McCreery: Scott Stem Essential Broadcast Media (615) 327-3259

Source:Smithfield Foods