I’d like to invite you to “Adventures In Song,” my songwriting camp, which is slated for July 16-20 in idyllic Carmel, California. Writing songs is very much an exercise in adventure. Metaphorically speaking, expect our songwriting camp to be equal parts zip-lining through the trees and archaeological dig. With the cast of instructors slated for this year’s camp ready, able and willing to explore craft and offer hands on encouragement, I predict “Adventures In Song” will be an unforgettable experience..
I’ll be teaching, as will Joe Henry, Lisa Loeb, Allen Shamblin and Brennen Leigh. And there will be guest appearances by the legendary Bernie Taupin and Benmont Tench. Renowned session guitarist, Don Peake, will be on hand and you never known who else might turn up.
Lisa Loeb is a much-admired writer/actor, singer/songwriter. Joe Henry is an author, poet, singer songwriter and top shelf producer. Brennen Leigh is a devilishly clever and highly original songwriter out of Austin, Texas. And there’s sweet Allen Shamblin, writer of some of the biggest hit songs of the last ten years. Each will offer their unique perspective. There will be talks on the philosophy of songwriting. We’ll explore the mechanics and craft of songwriting. Over the four days, we’ll examine the power of revision. Participants will have an opportunity to see if their verses or stanzas need to be re-written. We’ll break down sections of songs. We’ll examine verse chorus verse structure as well as free-form narrative. We will deconstruct songs, find the flaws and fix them. There will be hands-on instruction. There will be morning, afternoon and evening segments, broken up into meals.
It’s a songwriting camp. Much of the focus will be geared toward the lyric. But I thought it would be a good idea to bring in some instrumentalists. Don Peake, an incomparable guitarist who played with everyone from the Everly Brothers to Marvin Gaye, will be there to offer guitar lessons.
I will interview Bernie Taupin, who has written the lyrics for most of Elton John’s hits, from the point of view as lyricist. We’ll look at how his lyrics shaped the way Elton John wrote his music. And there will be opportunities for the participants to ask questions.
Dan Levitin, who wrote the provocative book, This Is Your Brain on Music, will be a guest and add a twist to the camp. Dan, who is a neuroscientist and songwriter, will talk about the impact music has on your brain. He will also talk about how the brain is connected to the creative spirit.
We’ll have a lot of fun outside of workshops. There will be concerts and there will be jamming. The food will be great. We’re going to eat together. We’re going to get to know each other. We’ll be right off of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. You will learn much about songwriting and it will also be a great time that you’ll never forget.