January 8, 2014

Symposium 2014 Songwriters

NEWS!!! Here is a quick view of all the songwriters in attendance to facilitate workshops at the 10th Annual ASG Songwriter Symposium.

Marc Beeson HeadshotMarc Beeson is an American country music singer and songwriter and has co-written several singles which have reached the Hot Country Songs charts. Beeson moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1990 and one of his first co-writes was “Even Now”, a top 20 hit for Exile. In 1992, he co-wrote Restless Heart’s “When She Cries”, which won him Country Song of the Year and Pop Song of the Year awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Beeson signed to BNA Records in 1994, charting at number 70 with “A Wing and a Prayer”. Then, in 1997, Beeson founded the group Burnin’ Daylight with former Exile member Sonny LeMaire and former Southern Pacific member Kurt Howell. This group recorded one album for Curb Records and charted three singles. Beeson has since returned to songwriting, and continues to pen hit songs, including Pat Green’s 2008 single “Let Me.”

Award-Winning Bluegrass & Country songwriter-musician Louisa Branscomb visits Austin Songwriters Group to facilitate a workshop and perform a house concert with Jeanette Williams.Louisa Branscomb has been writing songs since she was 5 years old. It’s not just something she does, it’s how she views the world. With a songwriting career that spans decades, she has received many awards and accolades. She wrote the bluegrass classic “Steel Rails”, which was recorded and released as a single by Alison Krauss in 1991. It was Alison’s breakout hit that consequently brought a new generation of fans to bluegrass music, many of them young girls. “Steel Rails” was subsequently recorded by John Denver, both recordings being Grammy winners. She has more than 160 cuts and many more awards over the years. Most recently, “Dear Sister”, a song she co-wrote with Claire Lynch spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Americana Roots Music Chart in the bluegrass category. It is the title cut of Claire’s new album and was nominated 2013 IBMA Song of the Year. Claire won 2013 IBMA Female Vocalist of the year for her cut of Dear Sister. Louisa was nominated 2013 IBMA Songwriter of Year. Uncommon amongst songwriters, Louisa is a standout teacher of songwriting. Louisa hosts quarterly writer’s retreats at her farm known as “Woodsong Farm Retreat”. Her unique approach facilitates in depth work and creativity as a wellspring for the authentic and powerful writing. “No one captures the depth of the human spirit or the rainbow of human emotions in all their flawed glory as does Louisa. She is a national treasure, a brilliant American poet.” (Mac McGhahey) Louisa has also been a great advocate for songwriters. She was founder of the association of songwriters in IBMA (Songwriter Committee) and has worked tirelessly for 30 years to promote songwriters through community building and networking, and continuing to foster her own community of writers at Woodsong Retreat.

ASG President Rick BusbyIn 1998, after spending the better part of his professional career on the business side of the entertainment business, Rick Busby returned to his first loves of songwriting and performing. In 2003, he released his debut CD, Soul Diving, which went on to garner two nominations in the Academy of Texas Music’s 2004 Texas Music Awards, including a Song of the Year nod for the song “Pray.” He has served on the ASG Board of Directors since 2004, and as ASG President since 2007. During that time, he also served on NSAI’s Legislative Committee and made two trips to Washington, D.C. to lobby for songwriter’s rights. He regularly serves ASG members as the “Song Doctor” and teaches songwriting classes throughout the year in Texas. In late 2012, he released his second full-length record, Strawberry Moon, which was produced by Stephen Doster. The new record includes a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Carefree Highway,” which received a nomination for March’s 2013 Texas Music Awards.

Will CalleryFew artists have crossed as many genres and generations as Will Callery. His music has been recorded and performed by artists ranging from Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker to Norah Jones. As a veteran performer and songwriter, Will began his early career touring with everyone from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Arlo Guthrie to David Lindley and Taj Mahal. Callery’s break as a songwriter came in 1975 when Willie Nelson recorded one of Will’s songs, “Hands on the Wheel” on his ground-breaking, multi-platinum-selling album, The Red-Headed Stranger, which also went on to earn a Grammy® nomination. “Hands on the Wheel” was also chosen as the title song for the film, The Electric Horseman, which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, and it will soon be released again by Norah Jones on her forthcoming live CD and DVD. Callery also appeared in the film, Heartworn Highways, with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. In addition to his film work, Will has written songs for such television shows as “St. Elsewhere” and “Northern Exposure.”

Bob Cheevers HeadshotBob Cheevers is the Texas Music Awards 2011 “Singer/Songwriter of the Year,” an Emmy winning songwriter, Kerrrville and Napa Valley festival winner with 8 commercial CDs two of which were Euro top 10 and the most recent, 2012 release, the double CD “Smoke & Mirrors.” Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings have recorded his songs. Having written over 3,000 songs with some of them on TV and in movies, Bob has toured Europe relentlessly the past 10+ years doing 40-60 concerts per tour and has been a music biz professional since the late 60’s during his top-40-charting pop career in LA, being the voice on the TV theme “Love American Style.” He has played gigs in just about every state in the US.  Bob grew up in Memphis and got a soul full of music not only from the icons of his youth such as Elvis and Johnny Cash but also from his mother who was a radio star in the 20’s-30’s during the big band era. From an early age, his feet were firmly planted in Mississippi Delta Mud, and his songs began to feature characters whose lives reflected the life style along the rivers of the south over the past 100 years. Having spent 16 years as a journeyman writer in Nashville’s music scene, he now lives in Austin fine tuning his musical voice spinning rootsy, blues-flavored tales of life in a conversational language of the heart.

Songwriter Chuck Cannon returns to ASG for concert and workshop on october 2-3, 2012.Chuck Cannon grew up in the South Carolina low country. He’s a Southern boy whose music echoes the R&B, Rock & Roll and Gospel music he heard from the cradle. Chuck’s songs have been recorded by an incredibly diverse array of mega-stars from around the world, logging over 20 million broadcast radio airplays during his career, including the 10 Million plus broadcast performances of John Michael Montgomery’s smash hit, “I Love The Way You Love Me.” Most recently, “Poison,” his co-write with Allen Shamblin was a hit for George Strait. His critically acclaimed solo projects, “God Shaped Hole” and “Love & Money” deliver songs that are quite simply stunning. His live performances are routinely described as funny, thought provoking and riveting. For a complete view of Chuck’s bio and his music, visit:  www.chuckcannon.com.

Austin Cunningham HeadshotAustin Cunningham is a songwriter who splits his time between his home state of Texas and Music Row in Nashville. Austin has written hits for Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Jr., Martina McBride, Winona, Chris Knight and many more. His songs have been featured in documentaries and film soundtracks, including Ashley Judd’s Where the Heart Is and the Richard Gere/Winona Ryder film, Autumn in New York. He is also a very moving performer, and an excellent guitar player. On top of being a treasured writer and performer, he is an excellent teacher of the craft of songwriting and is a popular instructor with many ASG songwriters.

stephen doster 150Stephen Doster has been described as one of Austin’s “most ubiquitous” musicians. He has appeared on recordings, stage and television with such talkents as Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Mark O’Connor, Bill Carter and Will Sexton, among many others. As a songwriter, his songs have been recorded by Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Double Trouble, Storyville, Tommy Elskes and Brint Anderson with George Porter, Jr.. He is co-owner of EAR (East Austin Recording) studio and has produced more than 60 albums with a wide range of artists. Stephen performs over 200 shows yearly, mostly in the greater Austin area and has performed in concert with a diverse list of some of the all-time greats including Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Ricky Nelson, Squeeze, Gatemouth Brown, Little Feat, Joe Cocker and countless others. Doster is one of a small handful of songwriters who has been an instructor for the ASG Symposiums every single year since the beginning. His insights into songwriting and deep studio production experience have helped many ASG songwriters over the years.

lee-duffy-thumbnailLee Duffy has had the opportunity to play at some of the most popular stages from the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters and Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnics to the Col-des-Roches Country Music stage in Switzerland. She has been blessed to share the stage with some of the finest artists in the world including Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Kimmie Rhodes, Austin Cunningham, Gabe Rhodes, Will Sexton, Joe Manuel, Floyd Domino, Stephen Doster, Bill Carter, and many more. She had the opportunity to record on Merle’s song “Motorcycle Cowboy” and was thrilled to sing back up vocals at one of his performances at Stubb’s in Austin Texas.

She sang and performed in two plays written by singer/songwriter Kimmie Rhodes and actor/playwright Joe Sears. These productions, “Small Town Girl” and “Hillbilly Heaven,” had impressive casts of local and national talent including Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Alvin Crow, Mary Ann Price and many others. She co-wrote the song “Can’t Touch Her Anymore” with Steven Doster and sang back up vocals with Will Sexton for the song, which was chosen to be included on the “Texas Guitar Slingers” CD, a fundraiser for The Texas Council on Family Violence. As executive director of the Austin Songwriters Group, Lee founded the ASG Songwriter Symposium in 2003, produces the Annual Merle Haggard Birthday Bash and has organized countless workshops of all kinds for songwriters from around the world.

Marvin DykhuisMarvin Dykhuis offers his masterful ability to blend and create an interesting twist with any style of music, whether he’s playing in the studio, doing movie soundtracks, or performing live across multiple genres, from Blues to Bluegrass. Some of his side musician credits are Tish Hinojosa, Jimmy LaFave, Bruce Robinson, Charlie Robinson, Peter Rowan, James McMurtry, and many more. His production credits include Tish Hinojosa, Champ Hood, Jimmy LaFave, and John Smith to name a few. Dykhuis has played in venues across the globe from Threadgills to the White House. Dykhuis has been an instructor at seven previous ASG Symposiums. Marvin is being sponsored for the second year in a row by Collings Guitars.

Debby ThrockmortonDebby Throckmorton had her first song published when she was twelve-years-old and her first song cut when she was eighteen. Her songs can be heard in the movie, “Jesus Freak” and the new movie, “How to Make Movies at Home.” She currently has three songs recorded on Aaron Kelly’s (Top 5 American Idol, 2010) album produced by Mark Moffat. In addition to writing songs, she also writes screenplays and television shows. She has had one of her movies made and is currently working with a production company on two of her television shows. She is currently in an improv variety show called, “Starla and Darla and the Choo Choo Revue.”

Chris Wallin HeadshotWith his unique gift for finding the extraordinary in ordinary life, Chris Wallin has established himself as one of Nashville’s most sought-after songwriters. For the past several years, Wallin has topped the charts with classics-in-the-making for the industry’s biggest stars: “Love Me If You Can” by Toby Keith, “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney, “I’m Tryin’” for Trace Adkins, “Something To Be Proud Of” and “Speed” by Montgomery Gentry. Raised in a small town in East Tennessee Wallin was influenced by the likes of Jim Croce, James Taylor and Merle Haggard, as well as his own musical family – especially his mother, a singer herself.

He began writing songs at age 12 and, perhaps inevitably, moved to Music City several years later, making the dues-paying rounds of writers nights and songwriting contests. He has several award-winning collaborations with fellow hit-makers like Jim Collins, Craig Wiseman, Tim Nichols and Jeffrey Steele. Artists who have cut Chris’s songs include Lorrie Morgan, Montgomery Gentry, Sammy Kershaw,  Trace Adkins, Jeffrey Steele, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Brad Paisley, Joe Diffie, Diamond Rio, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and many more.

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Rick Busby

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