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Watch now: Cracker Barrel sends Marion waitress who went viral to Nashville to record EP with band

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A waitress and local singer who went viral this summer after wowing customers at the Cracker Barrel in Marion says she and her band just finished a "dream come true" recording session in Nashville as a result.

A waitress and local singer who went viral this summer after wowing customers at the Marion Cracker Barrel says she and her band just finished a "dream come true" recording session in Nashville as a result. 

Miranda Joy Willmore, the lead singer for the band U-Foria, was captured on video this summer belting out "Happy Birthday” at the local restaurant. 

The band recently finished a four-song “Extended Play” recording session in the famous Blackbird recording studio in Nashville – a project funded completely by Cracker Barrel Restaurants as part of the chain’s "Care It Forward" program.

U-Foria Band in Nashville's Blackbird Studio

U-Foria band members pause during recording of their EP at Nashville's Blackbird Studios. Left to Right: bass player Frank Infranca, drummer Jimi Thompson, Blackbird Studio owner John McBride, vocalist Miranda Willmore and guitarist Shawn Harmon.

During the recording sessions in Nashville, members of U-Foria played with some of country music’s biggest musicians and met with John McBride, the owner of the studio and husband of country superstar Martina McBride. Willmore said the studio has been used from singers and musicians ranging from Garth Brooks to Kid Rock.

“As we walked into the studio, it was overwhelming and breathtaking ... It was just amazing to be able to walk into the studio and realize that we were recording in there,” she said. “The whole experience was amazing and awesome. It was just a dream come true for us.”

She said that Cracker Barrel was instrumental in the project. As the video garnered more than one million views, Willmore was booked to appear on television’s “Today with Hoda & Jenna.” During the show, she was told the company would be sending the band to Nashville to record; all of it underwritten by the restaurant chain.

“Cracker Barrel has just been amazing. They have been there every step of the way,” Willmore said. “They have really been showing us some love.”

Call for submissions 

Now, as the EP nears completion, the band is calling for submissions to serve as the project’s art.

“We’re holding a contest on our Facebook page for our cover. We’re needing help designing our album art,” explains Willmore. 

Willmore said the winner of the contest not only will have their artwork featured on the album, but will also when a prize package including a cash award and merchandise. Details about the contest are on the group’s Facebook page.

“The idea for the album cover is a concert on a farm,” Willmore explained, adding that the project title is “Small Town Famous,” which also is the name of the one of the songs the group recorded in Nashville.

Willmore said plans for the contest include the selection of semi-finalists whose work will be posted online or final voting by fans. The chosen art will be include on the CDs, which Willmore said will be introduced at a special gathering in the region when the project is finished. Submissions are due Oct. 30.

U-Foria members are Jimmy Thompson of Metropolis, Frank Infranca from Kansas City, Shawn Harmon of Vienna and Wilmore of Marion.

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