An Invitation From Rodney Crowell
My fellow songwriters,
I’d like to invite you to join me at Rodney Crowell’s Adventures in Song: Nashville Edition, happening July 23-27, 2020 at the historic Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Creative writers and musicians of all skill levels, ages, and interests are welcome for what I hope will be an educational and deeply inspirational four days of classes, workshops, musical performances, and community.
Rodney Crowell’s Adventures in Song: Nashville Edition is all about facilitating insight into the art and craft of songwriting. All kinds of people came to my first camp – folkies, pop singers, country singers, people who didn’t play an instrument but wanted to write lyrics. It was across the board, people came from Europe, from Brazil, all around the world. We had some fully developed songwriters show up and some who were basically in their infancy with it.
Though we certainly have a lot of fun, it’s definitely like school during the day. I lecture and break down really well written songs. It’s very informational. The attendees get a lot of hands on critiquing from me in the classes, which is very useful. People say “I want to be a professional songwriter”. But, they may not understand the amount of work that goes into it, the dedication and the focus that actually goes into producing good work. It’s my job to make you aware of that.
Of course, I also try to gauge what the attendees are looking for. I ask everyone, what is your ultimate goal? Do you want to write some songs and perform them for your family or do you want to be a professional songwriter? If someone wants to just learn a little for pleasure, I’ll go easy on them. But if you want to be a professional songwriter, I will be more serious. I’ll get more into the art and craft of songwriting, what it actually takes to produce good work.
The best songwriting is not necessarily technical, as far as I’m concerned. But there are techniques, if that’s something that you’re looking for. We’ll facilitate how to explore expressing yourself from more of a technical point of view. Although, I’ll gently be encouraging you to look broader afield, at poetry, literature and all other forms of writing that inform the inspired songwriter.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a really diverse and talented faculty including Beth Nielsen Chapman, Allison Moorer, John Paul White, Allen Shamblin, and John Jorgenson. Each of the instructors that I’ve handpicked has their own methodology of how they go about facilitating the learning curve that’s there to be had. In my case, I’m really big on revision and editing and narrative flow, all of the fine points that lead to really clean songwriting. I’m a stickler about that and that’s the experience that I have to offer.
I’ll also have a couple of really special guests in Peter Asher and Rosanne Cash. I’ll instigate conversations with them, pulling out their pathway into their careers as songwriter and artist. We’ll talk about their craft, the actual nuts and bolts of how they approach it. We’ll talk about their dedication to the work, how they deal with inspiration. I’ll open it up to questions from the attendees and then, later on that evening, they’ll give us a private performance.
Performance is such an important part of the overall creation of a song so we’ll provide more time and space for attendees to get on stage. Based on what we learned from the first one we did, I think we’ll be more efficient and more streamlined, more experienced in how to provide what the attendees need. For example, I could tell the attendees needed more time on the stage. They want a chance to perform their songs and a platform to express themselves. So this time, myself and the instructors and special guests will still perform in the evenings but we’ll be creating even more time for the attendees to be the ones who are actually on stage, playing their songs.
“Rodney Crowell’s Adventures in Song: Nashville Edition is all about facilitating insight into the art and craft of songwriting.”
I’m already looking forward to Rodney Crowell’s Adventures in Song: Nashville Edition. I get so much satisfaction out of seeing someone joyously discover another level of what he or she can do and where they take it. I love when someone comes through my class and I start nailing them on soft rhymes or something like that, I can see their eyes getting wider, thinking about things that they never considered before. There’s something really satisfying about that for me.
Here’s the thing about songwriting. You can just start throwing paint on a canvas, musically speaking, and it’s really good fun. But if you want to take it to another level you’ve got to start understanding how to put brick on brick to build the foundation that makes your song a real solid piece of work. Rodney Crowell’s Adventures in Song: Nashville Edition will be a great place to learn some of those skills and become part of the songwriting community. I hope you’ll join us there.
See you next summer,