We're excited to announce the faculty for the 2015 Song School.
Jenn Adams | "Chicago Mike" Beck | Mai Bloomfield | Jill Brzezicki | Ron Browning | RJ Cowdery | Joe Craven | Terri Delaney | Val Denn | Ellis | Rebecca Folsom | Heiko Grein | Robby Hecht | Django Jones | JJ Jones | Arthur Lee Land | John Linn | Clare McLeod | Bill Nash | Justin Roth | Alan Rowoth | Christopher Smith | Amy Speace | Caroline Spence | Judith Wade | Tom Wasinger | Annie Wenz | Shannon Wurst
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The Associated Press named Mary Gauthier as one of the best songwriters of her generation. Her songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and Candi Staton, Amy Helm and Bettye Lavette and Mike Farris, [more...] and have also appeared in Film and Television, most recently on the ABC hit show Nashville, HBO's Banshee, and Masterpiece Theater's Case Histories. She was awarded New Artist of the year by The Americana Music Association in 2005, and has released 8 studio albums.
Her current release is Trouble and Love, and she is touring the world with it. Her third album, Filth and Fire was named Best Independent CD of the year by the New York Times. Her following 3 records were listed in both the LA Times and NY Times top three releases of the year. Her record Mercy Now was named in the top 5 records of the decade by No Depression magazine.
Mary tours the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and the UK, performing an average of 175 dates a year, and has appeared dozens on NPR radio (US), BBC radio (UK), CBC radio (Canada), and ABC radio (AU). Her short stories have been published in several books and magazines, including the book Amplified, released by Random House. She is a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry, and currently resides in Nashville, TN. She's often been called a writer's writer, and that thrills her to no end. [less...]
These discs were followed by the self-released Somerville Live (2000), lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc "young songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams," and One Thru Fourteen (2002), a stylistically varied offering that New York's Town and Village called "lively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending." Gilbert followed with Side Of The Road (2003), a duo album with Ellis Paul, lauded as "haunting, artful, and lovely" by Boston Magazine and nominated for a 2004 Boston Music Award. Then came Unfamiliar Moon (2005). "The songwriter's most compelling work; literate, heartfelt, rippling…emotionally resonant songs" raved the Boston Globe, placing the album in its Top 10 CDs of the year (#4). On Angels, Castles, Covers (2006), "Gilbert's choice of an album of covers seems both fitting and fearless. …he displays his vocal virtuosity with some unexpected choices from the late 20th century songbook. From the sounds of Motown, through the R&B of Al Green to classic Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin…He makes each and every tune sound fresh and new," writes Roberta Schwartz of FAME.
Gilbert then launched into a year and a half as support for George Carlin, leading up to the creation and recording of Up On Rockfield (2008), a landmark album noted for being written in the styles of some of his favorite songwriters. Of this disk Vintage Guitar proclaimed that “His fervor for composing is as powerful as a Colorado thunderstorm...accomplishing the seemingly impossible...Up On Rockfield should be on your must hear list.”
Who else would name their most recent album “Old White Men”, and actually have recorded a groundbreaking, heartbreaking title song to back it up? That’d be Vance Gilbert.
This latest release has received raves based solely on the material folks knew would be on it! The soul aching title cut, OLD WHITE MEN, the winsome BOY ON A TRAIN, and the comic tour de force MY BAD are present. The lonesome KING OF THE RAILS will leave a diagonal crease across the listener’s heart. DRAGONFLY WINGS is a delightful throwback to 70‘s pop. NO ONE CAN LOVE YOU LIKE MARY is an all acoustic life story punctuated by Billy Novick’s funky saxophones. The maddened rant of HELPLESS MAN is followed by the big hearted NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE LION’S HEAD HOTEL - HOURLY RATES, a one-sided conversation between a prostitute and a policeman. Vance’s original YOU SHOULD BE HERE sounds like a refugee from the Rogers and Hart songbook and is just Vance and a classical guitar. GO and COME HERE MY LOVE are both solo snapshots of breathless points in time. The acapella BRAKEMAN’S SON is a small story of a search for big peace. Eleven killer songs, pared down to their living core, listener ready (OK, there’s a buried track. Listen for yourself…). [less...]
On the new CD, Love In the Ruins, Bonnie infuses her barbed lyrics with her own unmistakable vocal style and adds a new fervor for crunchy guitars and incendiary drumming. The sum is ironic, literary, melodic, tragic, wild, honest, joyful music that also flat out ROCKS. Known for years as a keyboardist (she actually toured as a keyboard player/backing vocalist with such arena acts as Belinda Carlisle and Billy Idol), she turned to writing on guitar to stimulate the creative process. Bonnie's personal reinvention is typical of her uncompromising attitude: "I reject the idea that music has to be either smart or kickass---why not both?"
Famed for her kick-out-the-jams live show, Hayes has also enjoyed success as a recording artist and producer. In 1984, her pop/punk debut Good Clean Fun was released on seminal LA indie Slash Records to critical raves and national college airplay and in 1995, the Hayes-produced CD Steppin' Out by the Gospel Hummingbirds was nominated for a Grammy. Her new CD marks a return to center stage for this exceptional songwriter.
Bonnie Hayes is a popular and experienced teacher with an original slant on writing songs that satisfy both artistic and commercial criteria. She teaches classes in various aspects of songwriting and popular music regularly. Her students have won prizes in the John Lennon songwriting contest, the WCSA songwriting contest, the Soulmaking contest, and others. [less...]
Convinced that her calling was in another direction, Lucy left the musical fast track to pursue a doctorate in Psychology. Upon completing her degree, Dr. Kaplansky took a job at a New York hospital working with chronically mentally ill adults, and also started a private practice. Yet she continued to sing. Lucy was often pulled back into the studio by her friends, (who now had contracts with record labels) wanting her to sing on their albums. She harmonized on Colvin’s Grammy-winning Steady On, and on Nanci Griffith’s Lone Star State of Mind and Little Love Affairs. She also landed soundtrack credits, singing with Suzanne Vega on Pretty in Pink and with Griffith on The Firm, and several commercial credits as well—including “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet.
Then Shawn Colvin—who was itching to produce a record—hooked up with Lucy, her ex-singing partner. They went into the studio, and it all came together. When Lucy’s solo tapes got into the hands of Bob Feldman, president of Red House Records, he was blown away. Suddenly, Lucy was back in the music business. She signed with Red House and started playing gigs. Red House released The Tide in 1994 to rave reviews, and within six months Lucy signed with a major booking agency—Fleming Tamulevich & Associates—and began touring so much it required leaving her two psychologist positions behind.
Lucy’s second album, Flesh and Bone (1996), was produced by Anton Sanko (producer of Suzanne Vega’s Days of Open Hand), and it clearly showed a performer and songwriter stepping into her own. Some of Lucy’s favorite singing partners joined her in the studio, including Jennifer Kimball (formerly of The Story), Richard Shindell, and John Gorka. Where The Tide had showcased Lucy’s formidable interpretive skills, Flesh and Bone emphasized her development as a gifted songsmith. The album is graced with eight absorbing original songs, as well as four sharp covers.
After releasing, The Tide, Lucy’s success took flight with back-to-back hit albums Ten Year Night and Every Single Day. Both received the AFIM award (Association For Independent Music) for best pop album of the year. Lucy’s rising popularity has led to appearances on the CBS Morning Show, NPR’s Weekend and Morning Editions and All Things Considered, Mountain Stage, and West Coast Live. Lucy also contributed her story to a unique book, SOLO: Women Singer- Songwriters in Their Own Words, which includes some of the best known women on the music scene today: Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and others. She was also featured in Lipshtick, a collection of essays by NPR commentator Gwen Macsai, published in the fall of 1999.
In 1998 Lucy teamed with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell to form supergroup Cry Cry Cry, and recorded some of their favorite songs written by other artists. The resulting album, Cry Cry Cry (which The New Yorker dubbed “a collection of lovely harmonizing and pure emotion,” and to which Entertainment Weekly gave an “A” rating), was an astonishing success in stores and on radio. A national tour of sold-out concerts by the trio served to introduce Lucy’s luminous voice to a new audience.
The Red Thread followed and marked Lucy’s tenth year (and fifth album) on Red House. It wove together themes of motherhood, home and the family with beautiful production.
Lucy’s new life as a mother has enhanced the emotional depth of her songwriting. Her 2007 release Over the Hills explored universal themes of love, joy, loss, and dreams for the future, through reflections on family. After the release of Over the Hills, The Boston Globe referred to Lucy as “becoming the songwriter laureate of modern city folk.”
Kaplansky’s voice has continued to remain in high demand by her peers. Her song “Guilty as Sin” was featured in the NBC television show Ed. In addition, she can be heard on recent releases by Bryan Ferry, Nanci Griffith, and on the Greg Brown tribute album Going Driftless (also featuring Ani Difranco, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and others).
In 2010 Lucy joined up with acclaimed singer-songwriters John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson to record an album as part of new folk super-group Red Horse. Awash in gorgeous harmonies and simple acoustic production, the album features the singers performing each other’s songs. Red Horse has received rave reviews and was the number one album on Folk Radio for several months in 2010. Since the album’s release, the trio were interviewed on NPR’s “Weekend Edition” with Liane Hansen and appeared on NPR’s “Mountain Stage.”
In 2011 Lucy released an EP, Kaplansky sings Kaplansky, featuring songs written by her father, famed University of Chicago mathematician Irving Kaplansky, including live performances of the two of them performing together in California. This is Lucy’s first venture into 1940’s style swing, reminiscent of the work of Kaplansky’s former student Tom Lehrer. Lucy is also featured on a new Bob Dylan tribute album, A Nod to Bob 2, featuring her performance of the Dylan classic “Every Grain of Sand.”
Lucy released “Reunion”, her seventh solo CD, in 2012. For this album, Lucy reunited with her impressive core of musicians–Buddy Miller, Richard Shindell, Jonatha Brooke, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson, Duke Levine (Mary Chapin Carpenter, J. Geils Band), Jon Herington (Steely Dan) and producer/drummer Ben Wittman (Paula Cole, Don Byron)–creating a true masterwork.
The title song “Reunion” celebrates Lucy’s pioneering immigrant grandmother and her journey from Poland to Toronto, where the matriarch and business woman founded the Health Bread Bakery chain in the early 20th century. Depicted on the album cover in a painting by noted political cartoonist Avrom Yanovsky (one of the original bakery workers and father to Lovin’ Spoonful’s Zal Yanovsky), the bakery was the center of the Kaplansky family’s life. Although raised in Chicago, Lucy attended many family reunions in Toronto, reuniting one last time with her cousins in 2011 after the passing of her parents, aunts and uncles.
“It’s inevitable that as you get older and your life deepens you find more ways of connecting to an even larger circle of people,” says Lucy. “This album is largely about reunions with family and deepening social connections with friends and audiences through my music. I find myself clearer about my priorities, my purpose, my politics and my faith.”
Like the title track, each song on Reunion tells its own unique story. Lucy and co-writer Richard Litvin connect us to our common humanity through songs of family, origins, loss and discovery–from watching parents pass on (“I’ll See You Again” and “Sleep Well”), to witnessing a daughter blossom (“Mother’s Day”), to chronicling the journey of an abandoned child refugee (the radio-friendly “Scavenger”). These poignant originals are woven with unique covers of Woody Guthrie/Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Amy Correia and The Beatles. Together these tracks create a tapestry that is at turns deeply moving, joyful, meditative and rollicking.
Lucy continues to perform all over the world. When not performing, she lives in New York City, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and nine year-old daughter. [less...]
The world took notice of Shane Koyczan when his influential, anti-bullying, "To This Day Project" video went viral in early 2013 and has reached over 14 million views and counting. Powerfully engaging and authentic in attitude, Shane’s explorations are relevant to our times in the way that Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen were to theirs. But unlike the musicians that he’s often compared to, poets rarely infiltrate pop culture. [more...] Shane emerges in a new wave of 21st century poetry that dares to belong to the people and speak directly to them in their own voice.
Shane is both a writer and spoken word virtuoso. His first published collection, Visiting Hours, was the only work of poetry selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists in 2005. Destined to become a future classic, Visiting Hours is now in its third edition, and includes We Are More, performed by Shane at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Shane followed up on the success of Visiting Hours with Stickboy, a novel in verse that chronicles the dark and lonely journey of a bullied child gripped by helpless rage. Shane shines a light into the bleak world behind some of the most incomprehensible acts in our culture, and also shows the healing power of love. Written for anyone who has ever been a child, Stickboy continues to be hailed by teachers, academics, and mental health experts alike for its deft handling of the subject of bullying.
Shane has returned to his roots with a collection of poetry titled, Our Deathbeds will be Thirsty, which was released in 2012. This book features the piece, To This Day, a poem about bullying that was made into a video by collaborating animators. It was released as a project to acknowledge anti-bullying day. Since the video’s release Shane has presented at TED Talks, where the audience leapt to their feet in applause. Sir Ken Robinson has listed that talk as one of his top ten talks on education. That TED Talk led to him collaborating with TED Education to create a classroom tool that provides teachers a way to discuss anti-bullying with students.
Shane Koyczan however, is best known for his award winning spoken word performances. With his rhythmic verse in high gear, he navigates his audience through social and political territory with a furious honesty and a tender humanity that has brought audiences to their feet in New York, London, Edinburgh, Sydney and Los Angeles, to name a few. He received 5 star reviews for his performance at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the video, Instructions for a Bad Day, was showcased as the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival. Winner of the US Slam Poetry Championship and the Canadian Spoken Word Olympics, Shane is truly an extraordinary talent that has blown the dust off of the designation “poet”. [less...]
He has written more songs than the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Foster combined—somewhere north of 3,500 compositions. And, he's probably had more than enough collaborators to make it into the Guinness Book of World records—approaching 40,000 and counting (though he's lost count). He's written songs with tens of thousands of children through his Kid Pan Alley project and he's written songs with a bunch of Grammy winning songwriters. Artists including Sissy Spacek, Raul Malo, Darrell Scott, Cracker, Corey Harris, Jesse Winchester and many others have recorded his songs.
He's one of the most popular songwriting teachers in the country and has taught at workshops and songwriting schools including Rocky Mountain Song School, Utah Song School, New Song Academy, Swannanoa Gathering, Augusta Workshop, Hollyhock, Kerrville, NSAI, Songcamp in the Mountains, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Berklee College of Music, University of the Pacific, and Moulin á Nef (France). [less...]
Peter Yarrow's talents as a creative artist—both with the legendary trio Peter, Paul & Mary and as a solo performer—are frequently directed at using music to convey a message of humanity and caring. His gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs from Peter, Paul & Mary, including "Puff, the Magic Dragon," "Day is Done", "Light One Candle" and "The Great Mandala." As a member of the renowned musical trio, Yarrow has earned multiple gold and platinum albums, as well as numerous GRAMMYs. Over the years, many issues have moved Peter to commit his time and talent: equal rights, peace, the environment, [more...] gender equality, homelessness, hospice care, and education. All have utilized his skills as both a performer and an organizer. Peter Yarrow's life and work – culminating in the founding and leadership of Operation Respect with its "Don't Laugh At Me" initiative – is based on his passionate belief that music, with its power to build community and catalyze change, can be a particularly powerful organizing tool. [less...]
Since graduating from Berklee College of Music, Jenn has returned to Montana to continue teaching, performing and community building through music arts education and performance. In 2013 she helped establish the Bitterroot School of Music and is now director. The School focuses on providing a broad range of programs for children, teens, adults and seniors.
"Teaching has been an unexpected revelation. It's a natural extension to my veracious appetite for learning but I never expected it to become such a passion. While at Berklee, I worked one on one with students like myself; challenged by learning in one form or another. I'm truly fascinated by how we all go about it so differently. I'm hooked on discovering learning strategies, sharing ideas and tying it all together to help a student get the most out of the experience." [less...]
In addition to his performing and recording endeavors, Mike is the founder of Access Film Music Ltd., an organization that helps independent recording artists expose their music to directors, producers and music supervisors working in the realms of film, television and other visual media. The 13th annual Access Film Music Showcase will take place during Film Festival Week in Park City, Utah next January 21 - 31, 2016. For the past five years, Access Film Music has been the Official Music Partner of the ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, France furthering their mission to connect music-makers with film-makers. Mike loves empowering and inspiring musicians to pursue their dreams, and enjoys sharing practical ideas, methods and information to help make them real. He's currently at work on a new album, and hopes to have some new recordings available in time for SongSchool! [less...]
Over the years Mai has also worked closely with many other artists on the road, in the studio, and on screen (Sara Bareilles, Willy Porter, Adam Cohen, Sarah Sample to name a few.) She's appeared on The Tonight Show, Ellen, David Letterman and has had songs placed in Grey's Anatomy and more. In 2010 she released a solo EP "Eclipse" with songs that would garner her awards in the Kerrville New Folk, Telluride Troubadour and Rocky Mountain Songwriting Competitions.
Career accolades aside, what Mai treasures about music is, the transformational practice of songwriting and its ability to nurture Listening and Discovery. In 2007 she came to the Song School for the first time and she said it felt like "coming home." She's been back 7 times, and considers it to be a sacred place of refuge, resource and reinvention. She returns this year to teach for the first time. Her class, which has to do with The Healing Heart of Song, will be informed by her recent journey with Breast Cancer. She says her diagnosis and recovery changed her life –for the better. Who would've known that the darkest year could also be the brightest? She never could have predicted that she'd be at once going through chemo while also opening for Bob Dylan in France. For Mai, that juxtaposition is precisely what she loves about music. As she says, "if we are willing to walk through the dark, we will inevitably stumble into the light." [less...]
In 2008, Rj released her second CD, “ONE MORE DOOR.” A compelling gathering of 13 songs, ”One More Door” – a title very much reflective of the exciting promise of her current career good fortune was recorded live in only two days in Parkersburg, West Virginia with percussionist Ammed Solomon and guitarist Michael Lipton, who are both band members with National Public Radio’s Mountain Stage. The sessions for the recording, were produced by West Virginia’s renowned singer-songwriter Todd Burge. The disc also features Don Dixon, singer, songwriter, musician and producer of such pop icons as R.E.M. Smithereens, and Marti Jones. [less...]
Heiko is a former student of Biology, who also worked part time as a bike messenger. He started and fronted the international touring German Hard-Floor Metal band 44XES. Rooted in the alternative hardcore music scene, they got signed to Castle Communication and supported Babes in Toyland and other US acts, performing internationally for European audiences in the '90s.
Heiko's interest in a wide range of musical genres, long distance running and project management, as well as the concepts of DIY and "Thinking Out Of The Box", have been the driving forces in his life.
Heiko's primary interest is building mutually beneficial relationships and managing long term, sustainable projects. As a marathon runner, he is aware of the ups and downs a journey might involve. He loves exploring the unknown, empowering people, being part of a team and sharing success in the long run. Quoting Joe Strummer of The Clash, Heiko asserts "The Future Is Unwritten!" [less...]
Girlyman traversed the U.S. and Europe for twelve years, wowing audiences with tight, three-part harmonies, heartfelt songwriting, freely improvised "tuning songs," and wildly unpredictable stage patter. The transition to music for families has been a natural evolution. Django Jones was inspired, in part, by the sheer number of underage Girlyman devotees. Parents would remark that their children were enchanted by the harmonies, the humor, and, most of all, the silliness of the made-up tuning songs. When the time came to develop a family music repertoire, Doris Muramatsu, JJ Jones, and Nate Borofsky simply pretended they were kids again (it wasn't very difficult) and imagined what they would have liked to hear. The resulting album they cooked up, D is for Django, is replete with songs about germs, our 206 bones, and Bigfoot, seasoned with lullabies and served as musical nourishment for the "inner child" that is snuggled within all of us. [less...]
Formerly self-taught, JJ completed Berklee College of Music's drum specialist online certificate program this year. She is a drum instructor, band coach, and workshop facilitator at girls and ladies rock camps across the U.S., and also teaches privately online giving Skype lessons to students all over the country. JJ is excited to be back at song school! [less...]
As a performing songwriter, John's music has been described as "songs for sinners and everyday angels." Whether you hear stories of growing up on the prairies of the Midwest, of a coffeehouse flirtation, or of the sweet disappointments of love, John's music will leave you with a sense of the depth and mystery of human experience, vibrating with its surprising joys and hidden tragedies.
John has performed his music in venues across the U.S., and has toured internationally as a tenor with Mastersingers USA, winners of Best Male Choir at the 2003 International Eisteddfod in Wales. John is an active member of the local D.C. arts scene, as a member of the Americana trio After the Flood, and he has served as Music Director for Lean and Hungry Theater's audio productions of Julius Caesar and Oedipus Rex on Washington's WAMU public radio in Washington. [less...]
“I began singing classical works quite young, and when I was a teenager my father brought home the Complete Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks. I started exploring jazz and dived into all kinds of genres, always curious about the variety of tones and colors in different voices—including my own. I started attending voice conferences and reading journals, asking ‘How does this work? What’s the science behind it?’ That curiosity has become one of my strengths as a teacher.”
“I want my students to have a strong sense of the lyrics and what it is they are saying. Great singers have a connection not only with their instrument, but with their material and their audience. Once they have a vision and the training to produce a range of sounds freely and efficiently, they can express themselves with greater precision and emotion. Knowing the options they have removes some of the fear and guesswork from the process of singing. The answer to fear is knowledge. I live by that.”
“One of the best parts about teaching private instruction is building a relationship in which students expand their awareness, are able ask questions, and learn to trust their bodies. There are moments in working with people, not necessarily when they have mastered a skill or completed a task, but when they see new possibilities and paths open for them. That’s when the lights go on.” [less...]
Baltimore–born Folk/Americana songwriter Speace received rave reviews for her 2013 record, "How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat," a song cycle inspired by Shakespearean characters, from Mojo Magazine to The New York Times to a feature on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. She was discovered by Judy Collins in 2005, releasing her debut in 2006 on Collins’ Wildflower Records, “Songs For Bright Street” to rave reviews. “The Killer In Me” was released in 2009 with NPR comparing her to a young Lucinda Williams. She moved to Nashville from NYC in 2009, releasing “Land Like A Bird” on Thirty Tigers. Her songs have been recorded by Judy Collins, the late Memphis blues artist Sid Selvidge, Red Molly and others. Her song “The Weight of the World”, which Judy Collins has called “one of the best political folk songs I’ve ever heard” was named as the #4 Folk Song of the Decade by NYC’s premiere AAA radio station WFUV.
A graduate of Amherst College, where she studied literature and playwrighting, she did graduate work in Classical Acting at The National Shakespeare Conservatory in NYC and was a company member of the National Shakespeare Company and Expanded Arts Theater Company in NYC. She was the Artistic Director and Founder of Five Points Theater Company in NYC and acted and directed in NYC and Regional Theater before becoming a full-time touring and recording musician. Along with her busy concert career, she teaches songwriting and performance at Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Song School, The Kerrville Folk Festival Song School, Sisters Americana Song & Art Academy, The Swannannoa Gathering and privately coaches songwriters in Nashville and on tour. [less...]
With songs that wrap the truths of life up into personal vignettes of clever wordplay and catchy hooks, it’s no wonder that in 2013 Caroline won American Songwriter Magazine’s June/July lyric contest as well as the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest songwriter competition later that year. Caroline also had her songs recorded by up-and-coming independent singer songwriters Andrew Combs (“Heavy”) and Annalise Emerick (“A Good One” and “Somewhere In Between”). But when American Songwriter named her the grand prize winner out of all song submissions for all of 2013, she began to feel her passions validated.
So, with help from producer Michael Rinne, Spence selected 13 original songs out of about 30 to record at Farmland Studios with some of her favorite musicians, including Danny Mitchell (Kim Richey) on keys, Kris Donegan on electric guitar (Matthew Perryman Jones, Amy Speace), Daniel Parks (Kelsey Waldon, Lucy Hale) on acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo, Michael Rinne on bass (Rodney Crowell, Steelism) on bass, Christian Sedelmeyer (Jerry Douglass, 10 String Symphony) on fiddle, Justin Schipper (Josh Turner) on pedal steel, Evan Hutchings (Escondido, Rayland Baxter) on drums and Andrew Combs, Erin Rae and Anderson East all providing additional vocals.
The album opening “Trains Cry” sets the album’s reflective, almost reverent tone with an insight Spence weaves throughout her songs – time inevitably marches forward, and we must take all the joy as well as the sadness that brings. Spence’s unabashedly honest approach also means acknowledging her tough side, with songs like “Don’t Call” and “Kissing Ain’t The Same As Talking,” two songs that refuse superficial relationships. She also acknowledges the need for bold female singer-songwriters in a landscape dominated by men. “Women are expected to write emotional music, but when a man writes emotional music, its profound and its praised. I just feel like that’s bullshit and I think that the only music that should be made is emotional music.”
Meanwhile the band lives and breathes with Spence’s guitar and vocals, masterfully navigating a breadth of genres with a perfect sense of intimacy and style, at times with the rock of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, the twang of Lower Broadway, or the sensitivity of swelling pedal steel and simple percussion.
Once the album was finished, Spence went on to win the Kerrville Folk Fest songwriting contest in May and in August was one of the headlining acts at the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest alongside The Stray Birds, Hooray for the Riff Raff, John Fulbright, Josh Ritter, and Brandi Carlisle. She also visited the acclaimed Daytrotter studios in September to record an exclusive acoustic set.
With all the courage, grit and passion that pervade her 13 new tracks, Spence is more than ready to share Somehow and take her place in the world of professional songwriters. Still, she does so without losing touch with her reality: “It just feels like all of this happened somehow, making these songs, this record, just somehow happened, kind of magically. And I know what I want and I just know that somehow I am going to make it happen.” [less...]
Annie's experiences span over 25 countries "bringing people together through music", performing & teaching for earthquake victims & dignitaries in SE Asia, to "New Zealand's Millennium Celebration", The Kennedy Center, festivals & theater productions in Costa Rica, Germany, Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali & more! Her former band members & include Senegalize talking drum wizard Massamba Djop of Babba Mal's band, percussionist Jose Gonzalez, Steppenwolf's Guy DeVito, & London's Robert Dean (of "Japan" & Sinead O'Connor's guitarist). She's taught with Roy "Futureman" Wooten of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones & co-written/collaborated with Dr Jeri Nielsen of the Ice Bound book & movie, and National Boyd Award winning novelist Robert Macomber.
Her story songs are inspired by her journeys... as a biker, kayaker & backpacker, working as a registered nurse, rafting guide, activist and teacher. Annie also travels throughout the world sharing her grant winning songwriting, percussion, flute, piano accompaniment & dance/yoga/movement inspired workshops ! She has 8 recordings on her own indie label "Island Gypsy" including her newest all instrumental CD "Rain on Bare Skin" used by yoga & wellness practitioners around the world, & her buzzed about CD "Ride The Sky" penned at stoplights while twirling about dusty back Americana roads on her Harley. She lives in her natty boots. "it's a muddy road out there, but somebody's gotta ride thru it!" [less...]
Wurst has won the Arkansas Governor's Fellowship Award in Music Composition, the Walnut Valley New Song Showcase, Northwest Arkansas Female Singer/Songwriter of the Year, and was selected for Kerrville New Folk Contest.
Inspiration for the forthcoming collection comes from Wurst's recent travels, a release of wanderlust marked by indulgence in moments of quiet introspection, stops at junk stores, run‐ins with a cult or two, and a concerted effort to learn to conquer love, both past and present, requited and unrequited, on a scale lived large. [less...]
Antje Duvekot, Mary Gauthier, Vance Gilbert, Bonnie Hayes, Peter Himmelman, Pat Pattison, Paul Reisler, Steve Seskin "Chicago Mike" Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Edie Carey, Terri Delaney, Val Denn, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Robby Hecht, Arthur Lee Land, Bill Nash, Siobhan Quinn, Etan Rosenbloom, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Sarah Sample, Amy Speace, Mary Vyn, Tom Wasinger, Kai Welch, Annie Wenz
Ysaye Barnwell, Mary Gauthier, Vance Gilbert, Bonnie Hayes, Lynn Miles, Pat Pattison, Paul Reisler, Steve Seskin, "Chicago Mike" Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Terri Delaney, Val Denn, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Robby Hecht, Jagoda, Arthur Lee Land, Mike Meadows, Clare McLeod, Bill Nash, Brendan Okrent, Siobhan Quinn, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Sarah Sample, The Sea, The Sea, Christopher Smith, Amy Speace, Judith Wade, Tom Wasinger, Kai Welch, Annie Wenz
2012 Song School Instructors
Mary Gauthier, Peter Himmelman, Holly Near, Pat Pattison, Gretchen Peters, Paul Reisler, Darrell Scott, Steve Seskin, Richard Shindell, "Chicago" Mike Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Don Conoscenti, Terri Delaney, Ingrid Elizabeth, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Girlyman, Jagoda, JJ Jones, Diana Korpi, Arthur Lee Land, Danielle Morales, Bill Nash, Brendan Okrent, Siobhán Quinn, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Maggie Simpson, Christopher Smith, Amy Speace, Mary Vyn, Judith Wade, Tom Wasinger, Annie Wenz
Ysaye Barnwell, Mary Gauthier, Vance Gilbert, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Johnny Irion, Anais Mitchell, Pat Pattison, Paul Reisler, Steve Seskin, Livingston Taylor, "Chicago" Mike Beck, Tim Burlingame, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Girlyman, Bob Hemenger, Jagoda, JJ Jones, Diana Korpi, Arthur Lee Land, Terri Mazurek, Bill Nash, Siobhán Quinn, Etan Rosenbloom, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Sarah Sample, Kathrin Shorr, David Slater, Amy Speace, Mary Vyn, Judith Wade, Annie Wenz
Jonatha Brooke, Sheila Carabine, Vance Gilbert, Pat Pattison, Paul Reisler, Darrell Scott, Steve Seskin, Amanda Walther, David Wilcox, "Chicago" Mike Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Joe Craven, Ellis, Girlyman, Bob Hemenger, Jagoda, JJ Jones, Diana Korpi, Arthur Lee Land, Terri Mazurek, Bill Nash, Brendan Okrent, Siobhan Quinn, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, David Slater, Amy Speace, Mary Vyn, Judith Wade
Mary Gauthier, Peter Himmelman, Karin Bergquist, Linford Detweiler, Pat Pattison, Steve Seskin, Vance Gilbert, Paul Reisler, Carmen Allgood, "Chicago" Mike Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Tim Burlingame, Chuck E. Costa, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Thomas Golubic, Jagoda, Jennifer "JJ" Jones, Diana Korpi, Arthur Lee Land, Terri Mazurek, Ryan Mintz, Kathy Moser, Bill Nash, Brendan Okrent, Siobhan Quinn, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Kathrin Shorr, Maggie Simpson, Christopher Smith, Amy Speace, Annie Wenz
Josh Ritter, Melissa Ferrick, Pat Pattison, Susan Werner, Steve Seskin, Vance Gilbert, Paul Reisler, Carmen Allgood, "Chicago" Mike Beck, Michael Bowers, Ron Browning, Tim Burlingame, Ellis, Rebecca Folsom, Jagoda, Jennifer JJ Jones, Arthur Lee Land, Terri Mazurek, Bill Nash, Brendan Okrent, Julie Portman, Siobhan Quinn, Justin Roth, Alan Rowoth, Kathrin Shorr, Moira Smiley, Amy Speace, and Annie Wenz.
Peter Himmelman, Darrell Scott, Mary Gauthier, Zoe Lewis, Catie Curtis, Steve Seskin, Vance Gilbert, Arthur Lee Land, Moira Smiley, Annie Wenz, Rebecca Folsom, Ellis, Terri Mazurek, Alan Rowoth, Amy Speace, Kathrin Shorr, Tim Burlingame, Jennifer "JJ" Jones, Siobhan Quinn, Michael Bowers, Anna Wolfe, Justin Roth, Ben Wisch, Carmen Allgood, and "Chicago" Mike Beck.