We will largely leave this to the words and photos from Debbie Hooper, who has been photographing the Blast on the Bay Songwriters Festival for all nine years of its existence.

We will largely leave this to the words and photos from Debbie Hooper, who has been photographing the Blast on the Bay Songwriters Festival for all nine years of its existence.

She will passionately fill any ear with stories and memories, of how special and unique it is for her to be part of the festival.

Here are a couple of snapshots, from the words and lens of the intrepid Hooper.

One photo told stories that could not be conjured by a novelist.

In that photo is Will Nance, who wrote “She’s Everything to Me” which was a smash hit for Brad Paisley.

To Nance’s left is Earl Bud Lee, who penned the Garth Brooks mega-hit, “Friends in Low Places.”

And in the middle is Troy Jones, Port St. Joe native, paper mill employee of 20 years, who wrote “People are Crazy.”

Over to Jones’ left sits Aaron Barker, who wrote the George Strait No. 1 hit “Love Without End, Amen,” about a father’s love.

And finally, but hardly lastly, sits Walt Aldridge who wrote “I Loved Her First” which is a favorite at weddings as performed by Heartland.

“And here in little old Port St. Joe we have it all once a year the third weekend of October,” Hooper said. “They love to be here and we love having them.”

Hooper related a conversation with Barker concerning her frequent attempts to lure her sister and family, who live in Nashville, for a visit during the festival.

The sister’s general response has been, “Why, I live in Nashville.”

Why make the trip to hear any of the nearly four-dozen artists in 10 local venues when most reside and perform right there in Nashville?

Barker, though, had a quick response, Hooper said.

“He said, ‘It is all work in Nashville, but performing in Port St. Joe is a joy and pleasure,’” Hooper said.

The festival was started nine years ago by Jason Bogans, then an employee of the Port Inn, with the assistance of his uncle, singer/songwriter Will Rambeaux.

And over the years, the festival has become something of a family affair for Rambeaux.

He brought three upcoming songwriters last year to be part of the songwriters’ workshop which is a highlight of each festival.

This year, all three returned as performers.

Rambeaux’s wife, Sherrie Austin, has performed for several years.

And, each year, as the number of artists grows, the number of who have played here before also grows, a kind of Blast on the Bay alumni club.

“To me it is like old home week seening everyone again and enjoying their wonderful personalities and music,” Hooper said.