UnpluggedView – Calling All Songwriters!


Unplugged View
By Gail Dreifus

Calling all songwriters of the Central Valley and beyond! Take a weekend to rest, write, and record at the third annual Yosemite Songwriting Retreat this October.

Growing in popularity and now in our third year, the YSR recently announced a heavenly lineup for our 2015 weekend event on October 9-12. Grammy-nominated songwriter Eliza Gilkyson will be joined by internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Joe Craven, central coast favorite Jayme Kelly Curtis, renowned luthier and musician Rick Turner, and several more instructors highly skilled in the art of facilitating fun, relaxation, inspiration and education.

I’m over the moon about the quality of talent we’ve been able to attract to our little corner of the world in just three years. Our headliner, Eliza Gilkyson, is the winner of three Austin Music Awards and four Folk Alliance Music Awards. She is one of the most active songwriters on the Americana scene, with 20 albums to her credit.

I’m equally thrilled that Joe Craven, a veteran of our first retreat two years ago, will be back for more musical hijinx. As a world class rhythm master and instrumentalist for whom most ordinary objects are fair game for making music, Joe brings a unique point of view to the craft of songwriting.

Last year, we had the pleasure of having Modesto artist Francesca Bavaro attend the retreat, as the winner of the Modesto Unplugged Music Festival’s songwriting contest. She amazed everyone with her voice and songwriting skill. You can hear a song she wrote at the retreat by visiting www.yosemitesongwriting.com. It was a thrill to watch her growing musical career.

This special weekend retreat is designed to educate and inspire as well as provide performance and recording opportunities and the creative crosspollination that comes from intimate interactions with like-minded artists. Our classes will cover both the craft and the business sides of songwriting, as well as topics such as instrument care and more. Recording engineers Adam Burns and Mark Albosta will be on hand to help participants bring their songs to life with high quality recordings they can take home with them. Beloved Santa Cruz humorist and vaudeville performer Ukulele Dick will perform and also emcee the open mic events. The weekend festivities will kick off with a public concert on Friday October 9, which will feature Joe Craven and Eliza Gilkyson.

Tuition fees for the retreat are $325. Accommodations range from $130-$535 per person. The Yosemite Bug Retreat Center in Midpines is the ideal host for this kind of event. Space is limited, making for an intimate experience where participants can really connect, communicate, and set aside any inhibitions they may have about expressing themselves musically. All retreat accommodation packages include taxes and eight meals from The June Bug Café, serving fresh, organic and local foods with plenty of vegan and vegetarian selections, as well. Participants also receive special discounts on spa services, including massage, yoga classes and sauna. The retreat is open to anyone 18 and older. Complete details can be found at www.yosemitesongwriting.com.

August event calendar:

Friday 8/7: Modesto Unplugged and ModestoView’s ‘Live In The Cellar’ series presents Vortex Tribe, performing a hard-charging fusion of acid jazz and world sounds. 8 PM at Greens Restaurant, 953 10th St. Tickets $15/$20, available by calling 209-543-5306.

Saturday 8/22: Take a great musical day trip up to gold country for the 13th annual International Jug Band Festival at the Sutter Creek Inn, from 11 AM to 9 PM. This fun outdoor gathering will feature past MUMfest headliners 5 Cent Coffee and many others.

Saturday 8/29: Patty Castillo Davis emcees and performs at ‘Smoke On The River’, a day filled with barbecue, beer and music. Local groups Greg Scudder & The Beer 30, Black Rose Band and the Highway 99 Band are also slated. 11am-7pm at the Tuolumne River Lodge, 2429 River Rd. $10 advance tickets, $15 at gate. Sponsored by the Ceres Chamber Of Commerce.

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