2019 Song School

Instructors

Instructors

Instructors

We’re excited to announce the beginning of the 2019 Song School faculty! Registration for the 2019 Song School is now open at shop.bluegrass.com or 800-624-2422.

Songwriting Instructors

Instructors

Bonnie Hayes

The songs of Bonnie Hayes have always been extraordinary, from “Shelly’s Boyfriend”, the post-punk badgirl anthem that put her on the map to the authentic passion of “Have A Heart” and “Love Letter,” which restored Bonnie Raitt to superstardom with the multi-platinum, multi-Grammy-winning CD Nick of Time. Writing for artists as diverse as Bette Midler, Robert Cray, Adam Ant, David Crosby, Booker T and the MG’s, and Cher, Hayes has continued to craft songs one critic described as “sparkling clockwork mechanisms with a tendency to do the unexpected.”

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Instructors

Haley Heynderickx

It takes a mix of skill and luck to tend a garden well, but it’s impossible without a certain amount of kindness tended. While the cyclical nature of gardening seems inherent, in some ways, Heynderickx is just beginning. Her debut album, named I Need to Start a Garden out of a search for calm through these waves of uncertainty and upheaval, is out now via Mama Bird Recording Co.

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Instructors

Mary Gauthier

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, 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 10 studio albums.

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Instructors

Patty Larkin

Patty Larkin grew up in a musical family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduation from the University of Oregon, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music, busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists where she soon joined the ranks of top shelf guitarists. With eleven studio albums and two live recordings under her belt, Patty mines the intersections of poetry and song with her upcoming innovative 14th release, “Bird in a Cage.” The recording puts poems from ten notable poets to song. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music and was honored by Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino with “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day” in recognition of her philanthropic contributions to non-profit organizations.

PattyLarkin.com

Instructors

Cara Luft

The Small Glories

Canadian folk heroine & Juno award winner Cara Luft is that rare artist steeped in folk and traditional roots music almost from birth, yet willing to alter the fabric, stretch the boundaries and fearlessly bend genres and styles. Luft, an original member of harmony sweethearts The Wailin’ Jennys and whose parents were folksingers influenced by the great activist Pete Seeger, knows that sometimes a song is all you need to bring people together. But often, it is more. “(Seeger) was the king of uniting people through singing,” Luft says. “There’s so much animosity and divisiveness in our world these days… as artists, part of our job is to somehow create unity.”

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Instructors

Pat Pattison

Pat Pattison is an author, clinician and Berklee Professor of Lyric Writing and Poetry whose students have composed for major artists and written number one songs. At Berklee, he developed the curriculum for the only songwriting major in the country. In addition to his four books, Songwriting Without Boundaries, Writing Better Lyrics, The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, and The Essential Guide to Rhyming, Pat has developed three online lyric writing courses, one on poetry, and one on creative writing available through Berkleemusic.com.

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Instructors

Paul Reisler

Paul Reisler is a composer, songwriter, recording artists, performer and teacher. He is the founder and artistic director of Kid Pan Alley, co-founder of Trapezoid, as well as his current bands, Paul Reisler & A Thousand Questions featuring Howard Levy, and Three Good Reasons. Over the past 40 years, he has performed in over 3,000 concerts, recorded close to three-dozen albums, written Aesop’s Fables for Orchestra and Narrator, music for theatre, dance and film, as well as the script and songs for two musicals—Bouncin’ and The Talented Clementine.

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Instructors

Steve Seskin

Steve Seskin is a songwriter/singer who has written seven number one songs, including Grammy-nominated “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” recorded by Tim McGraw, and “Don’t Laugh at Me,” winner of NSAI Song of the Year and Music Row Magazine Song of the Year in 1999 as recorded by Mark Wills. “Don’t Laugh at Me” was also recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and became the impetus for the Operation Respect/Don’t Laugh at Me project, a curriculum designed to teach kindness, respect and tolerance in schools. This program has already been implemented in more than 20,000 schools across the country.

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Elective Instructors

Instructors

Ysaÿe Barnwell

Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, Ph.D. MSPH, is a commissioned composer, arranger, author, actress and former member of the African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock. She is a vocalist with a range of over three octaves and appears on more than twenty-five recordings with Sweet Honey as well as other artists. Trained as a violinist for 15 years beginning at the age of 2 1/2, she holds degrees in speech pathology (BS, MSEd), cranio-facial studies (Ph.D.) and public health (MSPH).

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Instructors

Adam Bauer

Madison House, Inc.

Adam Bauer started booking bands for the Good Music Agency back in 1996, based in Seattle Washington. He focused on buying talent for colleges, casinos, and clubs on the West Coast.In 1999 he packed up and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to join Fleming, Tamulevich & Associates. He later went on to helm what became Fleming Artists for over six years until he left to join Madison House in the fall of 2016.

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Instructors

“Chicago Mike” Beck

“Chicago” Mike Beck is an ASCAP-award-winning songwriter and recording artist who has been touring full-time in the USA and Europe since 2001 as a solo performer and with his band Chicago Mike’s InterGalactic Brother & Sisterhood of Big Eyed Beans. Mike holds a residency several weeks each year at the historic Bright Angel Lodge on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and has toured Europe over 25 times, performing in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg.

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Instructors

Mai Bloomfield

Mai is a singer-songwriter-cellist-guitarist from California. She writes songs from the heart and loves to collaborate. As a solo artist, she has received songwriting awards from the Kerrville, Telluride, and Rocky Mountain Folks Festivals. As a collaborator, she’s worked with various artists including Raining Jane, Jason Mraz, Adam Cohen, Sara Bareilles, Willy Porter. In 2016 she had the honor of playing on Leonard Cohen’s album “You Want It Darker.”

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Ron Browning

Ron Browning

Ron Browning is internationally known as the “Voice Coach to the Stars.” Alison Krauss, the most celebrated Grammy Award winner (27 wins), recently praised him in the New York Times, USA Today, BBC News, the Tennessean, and The Sun in London, where she called him “a genius” after he saved her from a debilitating case of dysphonia and brought her back into excellent voice where singing felt effortless.This restored the confidence needed to finish her Windy City album, which won her 2 Grammy nominations. She was then able to move on with her singing career.Ron accompanied Alison Krauss on the Red Carpet for the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in Madison Square Gardens.

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Instructors

RJ Cowdery

Ohio’s Rj Cowdery has solidified her place in the world of performing singer-songwriters, garnering accolades at major performing songwriter contests across America. (Kerrville New Folk, Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Sisters Folk Festival…) She plays guitar like she means it, stringing chords together and developing melodies built like a proverbial brick house, then pours over it all with a voice like butter.


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Instructors

Terri Delaney

Terri Delaney is a Minneapolis-based social worker turned booking agent turned trauma therapist. What started as a brief consulting gig for a local musician turned into a full-time music career. Terri founded Peppermint Booking Agency in 2000 and she received the National Association of Campus Activities award of “Agent of the Year” in 2005. She then re-focused her career onto trauma therapy and helping people heal using mind-body approaches. She still collaborates with her wife, contemporary folk musician Ellis, co-managing her record company Singing Crow Music.

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Instructors

JD Edwards

The Small Glories

JD Edwards is half of roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories with Cara Loft, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian Prairies. With a truly original voice and a knack for crafting amazing songs, JD is able to capture every listener with an honest and uniquely personal touch. From gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful JD’s voice has a sound that embraces diversity as a strength.

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Instructors

Ellis

There’s just something about Ellis. She is at once funny and wise, thoughtful and uninhibited, and her captivating voice is matched by her uplifting lyrics. She has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion four times and has been voted “most-wanted-to-return” performer at festivals including Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Kerrville, and Sisters Folk Festival. She has received hundreds of messages from strangers including, “you exude pure joy”, “I heard you and fell in love” and “I was stopped in my tracks by your music and captivating laugh” as well as “Yours is a voice we all need to hear.” Ellis is currently working on her tenth album, Ordinary Love, and will be showcasing many of those songs at her annual closing set on the Wildflower Stage the last day of Folks Festival. She is available for mentoring sessions and is interested in helping others to find their mission and artistic voice.

Ellis-music.com

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Instructors

Oliver Esposito

Introducing Oliver Esposito: Songwriter. Singer. Multi-instrumentalist. 18 years old. It should be no surprise that in 2018, folk music at its finest is being made by a teenager. Esposito’s music is an acoustic mixture of folk, classical, bluegrass, an unsurprising blend considering the company this young artist has been keeping. In 2012, Amos Lee, in his headlining set at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, introduced 12-year old Oliver to the stage to join his band. “In that instant, the lives of everyone in attendance changed for the better,” wrote The Huffington Post about that appearance. Since childhood, Esposito has shared the stage with a veritable who’s who of the folk/bluegrass community, including David Grisman, Tim O’Brien, Chris Thile.

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Instructors

Rebecca Folsom

Rebecca Folsom’s music is about liberation. Rebecca’s world-class voice traverses a near-four-octave range. KUNC radio describes it as “knock-you-to-your-knees.” The Daily Camera describes her music as “shining…with lush harmonies,” and Westword Magazine says, “Her songs hit like little earthquakes!” While her range is impressive, it’s the expression in her voice that rivets attention. She is a unique artist who brings both a pure vocal quality reminiscent of old Appalachia and a gritty blues prowess. Her voice pours from an inner spring, flowing with lilting tenderness to fully liberated, unbridled release.

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Instructors

Mark Gibson

Songwriter, recording artist, barrister and barista, Mark Gibson, will be joining us for his eleventh Song School. In addition to co-teaching “Chicago Mike” Beck’s Taking Care of Business workshop, Mark will once again (and more importantly) be providing our morning coffee. After 25 years of law practice, Mark recently abandoned the heat and humidity of the deep south and relocated to Colorado. He spent the past winter guiding snowmobile tours in Vail and polishing up a collection of new songs to be recorded this fall. Mark is a frequent speaker on legal and business topics, and most recently brought his expertise to the 2018 AmericanaFest Continuing Legal Education Conference in Nashville.

TheMarkGibson.com

Instructors

Vance Gilbert

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90’s when the buzz spread through the folk clubs of the Northeast about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking them dead at open mics. Word got out about this Philadelphia-area born and raised performer, and Shawn Colvin invited Gilbert to be a special guest on her 1992 Fat City tour. Gilbert took audiences across North America by storm. “With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from that tour.

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Instructors

Dan Harris

John Prine meets Steve Earl, with a Vermont authenticity… On a cold winter night the coyotes would cry from way up in the hills as the midnite train blew its whistle farther on up the Connecticut River valley. I could feel the wind coming through the windows in the drafty farmhouse we grew up in. The coyotes were there most of the time, howling at the train whistle. There wasn’t much else to do on nights like that other than play my guitar, and scribble songs on little scraps of paper. I did alot of fishing in the river back then too.

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Instructors

JJ Jones

JJ Jones is an internationally touring, Berklee-trained drummer and educator. She has performed with folk-pop darlings Girlyman, Canadian roots band Po’Girl (now Birds of Chicago), singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche, Egyptian revolutionary Ramy Essam, and LA’s riot-pop band WASI, among many, many others. As a writer and producer, she co-wrote a song with comedian Margaret Cho that was featured in her Showtime concert movie “psyCHO”, and one of JJ’s own projects, a kids’ music record under the name Django Jones, won a Parents’ Choice Gold award, one of the most prestigious honors in children’s music.

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Instructors

Arthur Lee Land

Lyons Colorado based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Arthur Lee Land is known for his joy filled, innovative live performances, his mad guitar and live-looping skills, Arthur’s hands are full theses days writing, recording and performing with multiple projects. First as a solo artist, you have his unforgettable one-man act employing the Art of Live-Looping to create his Electro-Americana BAND of ONE featured in his last studio album release Cracked Open featuring songs co-written by his wife and songwriting partner, clairvoyant lyricist Carol Lee. In late 2014, Arthur replaced Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon in the veteran Colorado Americana Jam-Band Great American Taxi.

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Instructors

John Linn

Largely due to a visioning session in Ellis Delaney’s class at Song School, John Linn now teaches guitar and makes music full-time in Washington, D.C.His mission is to share the joys of creativity and musical living with his students and audiences.Having discovered so much of that joy in Lyons, John is especially glad to be returning to teach at the Song School again in 2019.In his teaching practice, John especially enjoys the gentle exploration of music theory, creativity coaching and performance development.

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Instructors

Heather Mae

Unfazed by what a typical pop artist today is “supposed” to look like and how the typical pop artist is “supposed” to sound, Heather Mae, an award-winning songwriter whose evocative vocals and rhythmic piano style call to mind artists like Stevie Nicks and Sara Bareilles, creates intoxicating music that tackles complex topics surrounding mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, self-love, racial injustice, social inequality, and women’s rights. Inspired by her own personal experiences and identities - a queer, plus size woman living with Bipolar Disorder - and those of her multifaceted fans with whom she has forged connections throughout her many years of touring across the United States, Mae crafts powerful lyrics and unforgettable music about life’s moments—from the quietly chaotic to the explosive.

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Instructors

Clare McLeod

Clare McLeod is an Assistant Professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music. A Certified Master Teacher in Estill Voice Training, Clare also trained at the National Center for Voice and Speech, and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In addition to teaching at Berklee, she presents voice clinics regularly in Los Angeles, Colorado and Austin and continues to study developments in the voice research field.

Full Bio

Instructors

Bill Nash

Bill Nash is a 17-year veteran of the Rocky Mountain Song school and has been a guitarist for the past 39 years, with 35 years of teaching experience under his belt. He has been mentoring guitar students at the Song School for the past 6 years, in a one on one basis under his canopy. He teaches fingerstyle guitar technique (mostly three finger Travis style) and also instructs students on the use of altered tunings, capo use, assorted other guitar techniques and music theory.

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Instructors

Bonnie Paine

Bonnie Paine was born in Tahlequah Oklahoma, the capital of the cherokee nation and end of the Trail of Tears, where she grew up playing music with her sisters. She began on drum kit, then guitar, hand drums, flute, washboard, vocals, cello and musical saw. She is a founding member and songwriter of internationally touring Colorado band Elephant Revival and continues to travel far and wide to learn about music from around the world that inspires her songwriting.

BonniePaine.com

Instructors

Emily Ann Peterson

In 2013, Emily Ann Peterson was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological hand tremor, which forever altered her two-decade livelihood as a cellist, string-arranger, and cello teacher. Refusing to lose her life’s love of musical expression, in an act of neurological defiance she accepted an award of a 6-week artist residency to write new music in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

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Instructors

Justin Roth

Justin Roth is a nationally touring singer/songwriter, fingerstyle guitarist, and recording engineer/producer for independent artists at his home studio in Fort Collins, CO. His path to acoustic music was solidified at 17 when he heard innovative guitarist, Michael Hedges, and saw how the acoustic guitar was capable of creating such a huge sonic palette, much more than he had ever heard before. From that moment on, he knew it would be the root of his musical world. His use of alternate tunings, partial capos and his innovative two-hand tapping technique has been described as, ‘more than just an instrument, but an extension of himself.’


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Instructors

Alan Rowoth

In 1991, Alan started the folk music listserv, and later organized the first Internet Quartet Songwriters Showcase, a tour that took 24 songwriters to 11 cities in the Northeast in a total of 66 concerts. Alan has written for several music magazines including Dirty Linen and Sing Out! and has taught seminars on the internet for musicians at national and regional Folk Alliance conferences, the Kerrville Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Christine Lavin’s Martha’s Vineyard Singer Songwriter Retreat, and of course, our own Song School.

www.BigOrangeTarp.org

Instructors

Amy Speace

“Amy Speace has one of the richest and loveliest voices in the singer/songwriter genre and her songs are luxuriously smart…she’s profoundly personal yet also a bit mythic. The imagery and the careful use of language is stunning and more evocative of classical poetry than most contemporary Americana peers” – Craig Havighurst, author & host of Nashville’s “Music City Roots”. Baltimore born, NYC bred and Nashville based, Amy Speace has been making critical waves since Judy Collins discovered her in 2006, releasing “Songs For Bright Street” on Collins’ own Wildflower Records. A logical protégé to classic singers like Collins and Baez, Amy’s brand of folk comes with a bit of grit and soul.

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Instructors

Judith Wade

Do you have writer’s block? Need more energy during Song School? Want clarity on which workshops to choose from the many wonderful ones? Or just need some time to relax and re-group? Come experience Reiki and other energy modalities provided by Judith Wade. Judith is a gentle intuitive channel for a variety of nurturing hands-on healing techniques including Reiki that balance the body, mind, and spirit. She is committed to integrity, creative expression, and authenticity and assisting you in freely expressing yourself.

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