September 23, 2011

back again

Well, sorry for the long absence. Life, as we continue to understand  it.

My recent happy experience at the Sherbrooke Songwriter’s Camp was enough to get me through the summer with a sense of satisfaction and joy. Well needed.

My fellow “instructors” – facilitators, really – were James Keelaghan, David Francey, Clary Croft and Craig Werth. All great songwriters, all lovely men. Lovely in the complicated, interesting, funny, tender way that makes you fall in love with them, even if you are gay. I learned a lot from each of them.

We started every day with an hour long talk from one of the instructors.

Clary: the history of song, the folk tradition, folklore, pulling examples from the Helen Creighton Collection, interspersed with songs delivered in the most beautiful tenor I’ve ever heard. He’s a singer’s singer. Also, he’s a great songwriter.

James: performance. One of the best performers in the country (many countries, in fact). Great talk about the hows and how nots. Most memorable for me? The question ” what is the one word you should never say on stage? “. Lot’s of suggestions as to what it might be. Turns out it’s this: sorry. I need to be reminded of that from time to time. Also, he’s a great songwriter

David: time and place, and evoking them. Great example of how he took a trip, kept his eyes open, listened to the place, imagines and created. He’s a master at it. His talk was transporting. Also, he’s a great songwriter.

Craig: an open hearted, enlightened and enlightening talk becoming a songwriter, about being a songwriter, and retaining one’s humanity in the face of a difficult business that sometimes does as much to separate us as it does connect us. Seems to me he got to the very heart of what it is to be an artist. Also, he’s a great songwriter.

I talked about making a lyric sing. Nut and bolts to smooth it out and “use your words”….and I sang some songs. Also, I’m an ok songwriter.

But the vitality of this camp is what the participants bring. Not just the songs (of which there were many good ones this year) but the pure willingness to cast off ego, help each other, pass the salt and pepper, leave the last cookie on the plate for someone else.

Here’s to leaving the last cookie on the plate for someone else.


One Response to “back again”
  1. Suzo

    Glad you are back.